Future Falcons beat Roma to advance to the semi-finals of Al Abtal

The Future Falcons secured a vital 2-1 win over AS Roma in the quarter-finals of Al Abtal, advancing to the semi-finals where they will face Slavia Prague of the Czech Republic.

The game started with Roma having the better of the early exchanges, but the Future Falcons responded strongly in the 10th minute as Ziyad Alghamdi dribbled into the box and played a beautiful ball to the right for Hamed Alkhorayef to slot into the back of the net. The Saudi team’s pressure continued and resulted in several further attacks, one such foray resulting in Thamer Almousa shooting from outside the area and seeing his dangerous effort go just wide of Atanas’ goal.

Roma tried to get back into the game but found it difficult to penetrate the Future Falcons’ rock solid defence. However, in the 36th minute the Italian side managed to find an equaliser through a powerful Thomas Sulpice header which goalkeeper Falah Alshammri’s best efforts were unable to stop from crossing the goalline. While up the other end, Hamed Alkhorayef almost scored a second Future Falcons goal when he played the ball inside the area and hit a shot that was saved by Atanas, all of which meant the first half ended in a 1-1 draw.

Roma came out for the second half with a more front-footed approach and pressed the Saudi team when they were in possession. Della and Marchetti came close to scoring a second goal for the Italians in the 58th minute with two quickfire shots, both of which were brilliantly saved by Falah Alshammri. The Future Falcons regained their balance after Mikulic’s substitutions, and Ziyad Alghamdi threatened again when he got on the end of a cross from the left flank and struck the ball on the volley, the shot was not strong enough to beat Atanas in the Roman goal though.

In the 76th minute, Hussein Al Taha broke through the Roma defence down the left and was brought down inside the box, winning his Saudi team a penalty, which was successfully executed by Hamed Alkhorayef to restore the Future Falcons’ lead. Shortly after, Roma almost equalised in the 83rd minute after substitute Soricchio’s attempt from inside the box went over the crossbar.

The last few minutes of the match were both exciting and topsy-turvy, with Roma seeming to have scored in the 89th minute only for the referee to rule it out for offside. Not long later, Osama Al Jawhar was then shown a red card for a dangerous tackle in the centre of the pitch, making for a difficult end to the match as the Saudi team strove to hang onto their lead. Falah Alshammri came to the rescue once again to keep out two dangerous headers in stoppage time. All in all, Roma were unable to find an equaliser despite their pressure in the final minutes and the Future Falcons won the game and progressed to the semi-finals to face Slavia Prague of the Czech Republic.