Saudi Arabia stun Argentina with inspired second-half performance
Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina with two second-half goals to beat one of the pre-tournament favourites in their opening World Cup match on Tuesday, marking the first upset of the 2022 edition of the sport’s biggest event.
It all seemed to be going to plan for Argentina after their talisman and captain Lionel Messi slotted in a penalty after 10 minutes.
Yet while thoroughly dominating the first half, Argentina failed to capitalize on their superior possession and strayed offside seven times. They also had a Lautaro Martinez goal ruled out for a marginal offside.
However, in the second half, the energised Saudi team took the field with an intent that they had been previously missing. Saleh al-Shehri opened the scoring in the 48th minute after latching onto a long ball and guiding it through Argentinian goalkeeper Damián Martinez’s legs.
If that equaliser stunned Argentina — and its fans who turned quiet — more was to follow. Five minutes later, Salem al-Dawsari curled in a beauty to give Saudi Arabia the lead.
Argentina applied late pressure but a string of fine saves from the Saudi keeper, Mohammed al-Owais, kept the scoreline in the favour of the underdogs, who came out on top with an historic win.