Roberto Mancini's Saudi Arabia struggled at times

Doha (AFP) - Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia reached the Asian Cup knockout rounds on Sunday with a laboured 2-0 win over a Kyrgyzstan side who played almost half the game with nine men.

Also in Group F, an unadventurous Thailand held Oman 0-0 to inch towards the last 16 in Qatar.

Mancini’s men are ranked 56 in the world to Kyrgyzstan’s 98 but they made hard work of their depleted opponents before joining holders Qatar, Iran, Iraq and Australia in the next round.

The Saudis, who came back to claim a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Oman in their opening game, have six points from two matches as they pursue their fourth Asian crown.

Kyrgyzstan were the clear underdogs even with 11 men and their task was made a lot harder after just nine minutes when Ayzar Akmatov was sent off for a studs-up challenge.

Akmatov was initially only yellow-carded but the referee rightly flashed the red after a VAR check.

Thailand's forward Suphanat Mueanta on the turf

The Saudis could not immediately turn the numerical advantage into goals, with Feras Al-Brikan missing two golden chances to give them the lead.

The frustration looked set to continue when Abdulelah Al-Malki hit the post, but Saud Abdulhamid collected the rebound and crossed the ball back into the box for Mohamed Kanno to volley home on 35 minutes.

Kyrgyzstan were reduced to nine men in the 52nd minute after another VAR red-card check saw Kimi Merk dismissed for another bad tackle.

Saudi substitute Faisal Al-Ghamdi finally added a second goal in the 84th minute, letting fly with a shot from the edge of the box that goalkeeper Erzhan Tokotaev fumbled into the goal.

- Thailand blunt Oman -

Thailand coach Masatada Ishii was “really happy” with a point after his side held a blunt Oman goalless.

Following a lively first half, Oman sought to apply pressure after the break, the midfielder Salaah Al-Yahyaei prodding away at the Thai defence but finding no way through.

At the other end, Buriram United striker Supachai Chaided – who scored a brace in Thailand’s opening 2-0 win over Kyrgyzstan – cut an increasingly isolated figure.

“When we went into this match we wanted three points, but as the game went by, we saw what can be done,” said the Japanese coach, whose side sit second behind the Saudis going into the final round of group games.

“We are really happy with one point.”

The top two after the final game are guaranteed to reach the next phase, but third place could also be enough.

On Monday, Qatar – who have already sealed their place in the last 16 – face a China side who are in pole position to join them from Group A.

Lebanon face Tajikistan in the other game, with both also still alive in the tournament.