Life is regaining some semblance of normalcy in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as 45,000 fans packed the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Al-Jawhara to watch the Oct. 7 World Cup 2022 Asian qualifier match.
The home team Saudi Arabia emerged victorious over Japan after substitute Firas Al-Buraikan scored the winner in the 71st minute.
Firas ran onto a wayward backpass from Gaku Shibasaki to fire a low shot past Shuichi Gonda.
The match in Jeddah ended 1-0.
The Saudi Ministry of Sports stipulated obtaining two doses of vaccine and setting a minimum age of 12 years old as entry requirements to watch the match live in the stadium.
Spectators had to wear masks during entry and exit, and throughout their stay in the stands.
Social distancing between spectators was minimal as fans sat side-by-side throughout the match.
Some seating were left empty.
The stadium can accommodate 62,000 people at its fullest.
Saudi Arabia first suspended the public attendance at venues in March 2020.
By mid-May 2021, Saudi football stadiums witnessed the return of fans to fill 40 per cent of their capacity.
This was later increased to 60 per cent.
Australia next plays Japan on Oct. 12 at Saitama near Tokyo.
Japan's World Cup 2022 hopes are in the balance following this loss.