The Manchester City midfielder was jeered as he came on, and every time he touched the ball, after meeting Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May and calling him “my president”. Germany were looking comfortable at 2-0 after a goal from Timo Werner and an Omar Hawsawi own goal. But Taiseer Al-Jassam pulled one back. And the Saudis, who have also qualified for the World Cup, should have had an injury-time penalty when Mats Hummels pulled Mohammad Al-Sahlawi’s shirt six yards from goal.
Difficult day for Gundogan
Gundogan and Mesut Ozil, who also met Turkey’s president in London last month, were both criticised by the German FA at the time and booed by Germany fans during a 2-1 defeat in Austria on Saturday. Arsenal midfielder Ozil missed the Saudi Arabia game with a slight knee problem – although he is not a doubt for the World Cup – leaving Gundogan to bear the fans’ anger on his own.
Manager Joachim Low looked irritated at the reaction of the crowd as he brought on Gundogan – who is of Turkish descent – and urged them to instead cheer the player.
But the City midfielder was jeered every time he touched the ball, including when he had two close-range efforts saved moments after coming on. Gundogan said earlier this week he has struggled with the reaction and he is “privileged to have grown up in Germany” despite his “strong connection to Turkey”.
Percentage. Saudi Arabia hogged 41 per cent of the possession and should have been given a penalty late on.