Saudi Arabia came from behind to defeat Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium, it was one of the biggest upsets of the World Cup for Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
With a calmly executed spot kick in the 10th minute, Messi handed Argentina, one of the tournament favorites, a lead.
However, two goals early in the second half, including an exceptional goal by Salem Al-Dawsari, completely changed the game and gave the Albiceleste little margin for error against Mexico and Poland in their other Group C matches.
Argentina approached the match with a clear expectation of winning, and they quickly took the lead thanks to Messi’s penalty, which was awarded following a VAR review for pushing and shoving in the penalty area.
Messi, who is competing in his fifth World Cup, outran Saudi Arabia’s goalie Mohammed Al-Owais on a breakaway, but both of Lautaro Martinez’s goals and one other were disallowed due to Saudi Arabia’s strong defensive line.
Al-Dawsari curled in a scorching missile from the edge of the penalty box in the 53rd minute, leaving Argentina staring on in bewilderment. Saleh Al-Shehri sneaked in a low shot in the 48th minute.
When Lisandro Martinez’s effort deflected off Nicolas Tagliafico, Al-Owais made a fine stop at point-blank range to prevent Argentina from scoring, but Lionel Scaloni’s team, who had four players older than 34 in their starting XI, appeared weary in the final 30 minutes.
The game was delayed as Saudi Arabia appeared to be heading for a notable victory after a nasty collision between Al-Owais and Yasir Al Shahrani who had to leave on a stretcher.