Saudi Arabia stunned two-time champions Argentina 2-1 in a group C FIFA World Cup tie played here at the Lusail stadium.
Argentina got off to a great start as Lionel Messi converted a penalty in the 10th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead. Playing in his fifth World Cup Messi beat Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais to find the net.
The Argentines also had three goals ruled out for offside as they went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. The second half was a different story altogether as 51st-ranked team Saudi Arabia came with a new vigour with Saleh Al-Shehri scoring a goal for them to level the score 1-1.
Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot into the nets. Five minutes later the Saudis took the lead as Salem Al-Dawsari tapped in a goal in the 53rd minute to give them a crucial 2-1 lead.
Despite a lot of possession after conceding the goal, the two-time champions were unable to level the score. Saudi’s goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais made many important saves and their defence also stood tall in the match’s dying moments.
Abdulelah Al Amri was awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his brilliant performance. Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina came into the FIFA World Cup 2022 as one of the favourites. Saudi Arabia broke Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten streak, including winning the Copa America 2021.
The two-time champions had 69 per cent of possession in comparison to Saudi Arabia who had only 31. There were six shots on target for Argentina in comparison to Saudi who had just two.
The Argentines will face Mexico on Saturday in their next group C match, while Saudi Arabia will take on Poland.