UPDATE: Saudi Arabia defeat Argentina in World Cup opener
Highlights of Argentina versus Saudi Arabia encounter in the Group C FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match
Saudi Arabia performed the first real miracle of the Qatar 2022 World Cup by defeating competition favourites Argentina 2-1 in after coming from behind to score two second half goals, to claim a shock three points in their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 opener played at Lusail Stadium, Lusail on Tuesday, November 22, in a Group C encounter.
The Arabians stunned the Argentine side despite being led by their talisman, Lionel Messi, who scored the opener for their side but trailed behind when their opponents struck twice and took the day.
The referee had awarded a penalty after the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) ascertained that there was indeed a foul by an Arabian defender.
Messi quickly converted from the spot in the tenth minute, becoming the youngest and first Argentine to score in four successive World Cups after his side were unable to break through.
Lautaro Martinez struck a second goal for the Argentines in the 27th minute but was later disallowed as an attacker was caught off side.
Argentina put the ball in the net two more times before the half time whistle – with every one being ruled out for off-side looking like one-way traffic.
The match ended 1-0 in favour of Argentina at the end of half time.
The Arabians struck three minutes into the second half with a strike from Saleh al Shehri.
It was a far from vintage performance from Argentina, ultimately punished when Al Shehri latched onto a long ball and lashed a left-foot shot into the far corner of Emi Martinez’ goal.
It was Saudi Arabia’s first effort – but it would not be their last.
Saudi Arabia made two attempts at the Argentine goal post in quick succession by Al Abed and Salem Al Dawsari but was thwarted by Argentine defenders.
Just five minutes later, relentless Al Dawsari, however, struck five minutes later to give the Saudis the lead.
He scored one of the goals of the tournament to launch the Saudis into an astonishing lead leaving the Argentinians mouth agape.
An exceptional save at close range from Mohammed Al Owais shortly after preserved the underdog’s lead, and the Albiceleste failed to meaningfully threaten for the remainder of this astonishing match.
It was the moment in which the world held its breath.
As the ball was launched downfield, few onlookers would have predicted the devastation that Al Shehri would cause when he latched onto the ball.
Pushing the ball into the box, it appeared as though he had taken himself too wide to cause the defence any trouble.
However, taken quickly and with electric sparking through every inch of the World Cup ball, the flashing shot was past the Argentina goalkeeper before he could blink.
While Saudi Arabia’s winner will justifiably grab the headlines, this was the goal that initiated lift off.
Lionel Messi came close to bookending the statistics for youngest and oldest World Cup goalscorer for Argentina. Having become the youngest (18 years and 357 days) in 2006, he today became the second oldest (35 years and 151 days).
Over one year younger than Martin Palermo and having claimed Qatar 2022 will be his final World Cup, it is unlikely he will complete the feat.
The match ended 2-1 in favour of Saudi Arabia.
Argentina will face Mexico in their next group game as Saudi Arabia take on Poland. Read more.