Doha: In one of the biggest upsets in football history, Saudi Arabia dealt a hammer-blow to tournament favourites Argentina 2-1 in their World Cup 2022 Group C opener here on Tuesday.
The Arabs played incredible football as the Lionel Messi-led team were clueless of the Asian team completely dominating the proceedings in the second half.
They fired two goals in five minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Saleh Alshehri hammered the equaliser minutes after halftime before Salem Al Dawsari pushed his side ahead with an eye-catching goal.
The Green Falcons could not manage a shot in the first 45 minutes, while Argentina players were offsided seven times, out of which they forced the ball in the net thrice, twice by Lautaro Martinez and once by Messi, but were disallowed.
Argentina however were lucky to get one in their favour through a penalty converted by Messi after a video review spotted a foul.
As Saudi strikers were all over the corner for launching a potential attack into the rival’s box, their defenders especially keeper Al-Owais made some exquisite saves to deny Argentina an equaliser in the last 20 minutes of the game.
For history’s sake, this was for the first time that Argentina lost their first game of a World Cup since 1990 which also put an end to the 36-game unbeaten streak since 2019 where they had lost to Brazil in Copa America.
This historic win by the Saudis move them to the top of Group C for now, but there will be no relaxation time for Argentina as they face Mexico and Poland in next two games, with a job on their hands of qualifying for the next stage.