World Cup stunner: Saudi Arabia beat Messi’s Argentina 2-1
LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Saudi Arabia scored one of the biggest upsets of the World Cup when they beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.
Messi’s quest to win the only major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina side led by Diego Maradona in the World Cup opener. 1990.
Goals from Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari within five minutes of the second half gave the Saudis victory. Argentina took an early lead with a Messi penalty in the 10th minute.
Argentina’s defeat rivals other World Cup upsets such as Senegal’s 1-0 victory over holders France 1-0 in the 2002 tournament opener and the United States beating England by the same score in 1950.
Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten streak ended at the Lusail stadium in Messi’s fifth – and likely last – World Cup.
The Paris Saint-Germain star shook hands with a Saudi coach after the final whistle and stood with his hands on his hips near the center circle, a scene all too familiar for one of the best players in the game. all time who has yet to win football’s greatest prize.
The unlikely victory was sealed with a somersault from Aldawsari, who brought down a high ball just inside the penalty area, turned one defender, passed another and fired a powerful shot past the keeper goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who got his hands on the ball but couldn’t. t stay out of the net in the 53rd.
A stunned Messi watched as dozens of green-clad supporters from Qatar’s neighbor Saudi Arabia celebrated in disbelief in the stands. The Saudi substitutes stormed the pitch.
Messi gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot after the video assistant referee told the referee to take a look at a shirt grab by Saud Abdulhamid on Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes.
With Saudi Arabia’s first shot in goal, Saleh Alshehri found the bottom corner with a tilted finish between the legs of defender Cristian Romero.
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Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts disappointed during the World Cup Group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko )
Salem Al-Dawsari of Saudi Arabia celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the World Cup Group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari, right, celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the World Cup Group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, in Qatar, Tuesday, November 22, 2022. (AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko)