Doha, Nov 22 (EFE).- Saudi Arabia delivered one of the most stunning results in World Cup history on Tuesday, defeating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 in their Group C opening match in Lusail.
The South Americans, who were undefeated in 36 matches and arrived in Qatar as one of the strong favorites to win the competition, started strongly through Messi’s early penalty, and had three goals disallowed for offside during a dominant first half.
But the Saudis refused to back down, leveling the score just after the restart through Saleh Al Shehri’s left-footed strike after poor defending from Argentina.
Less than five minutes later, Saudi Arabia had turned the match on its head, as Salem Al Dawsari harried the Argentinians into another error before curling a brilliant effort past Emiliano Martinez in goal.
At that stage, most observers still expected the star-studded Albicelestes to get back into the game against a Saudi side ranked 51st in the world, but the Argentinians failed to mount any real pressure or create many clear-cut openings.
Saudi Arabia kept Argentina at bay and held on for a truly historic win that sent shockwaves through the world of football.
It was not the start Messi would have wanted in what is expected to be his final World Cup, but Argentina can turn things around when they face Mexico on Saturday evening. EFE