Saudi Arabia's boss sacked

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Saudi Arabian football chiefs sacked coach Jose Peseiro on Sunday, immediately, after his demoralized side slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of unfancied Asian Cup outsider Syria.

The 2007 finalist and three-time champion announced Nasser Al Johar will take over from the 50-year-old Portuguese for the remainder of the showpiece event in Doha.

The Saudis had been expected to compete for the title alongside the likes of Japan, Australia and South Korea, but a brace from Abdulrazak Al Husein consigned them to defeat against Syria.

Peseiro - the first coaching casualty of the Asian Cup - had already faced heavy criticism after failing to steer his side to the World Cup last year and has had tetchy relations with the Saudi press ever since.

Saudi media again questioned Peseiro's tactics and team selection in the post-match press conference, and there were several laughs of derision when he declared his team would still win the Asian Cup.

With Japan and Jordan drawing 1-1 earlier in the day, the unheralded Syrians top the Group B table after one of the biggest victories in their footballing history and celebrated afterwards like they had won the tournament.

"I didn't expect to win but I expected us to play well," said Syria's Romanian coach Tita Valeriu, who has only been in the job a few weeks.

"It was a great game. I had only a very short time to coach the team but we used a formation that worked very well. That was the key."

Syria had marginally the better of the tense opening exchanges, midfielder Wael Ayan flashing the ball wide with a left-footed half-volley on three minutes that never troubled Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah.

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