Home South Africa Saudis stun Messi’s Argentina with 2-1 win – SABC News

Saudis stun Messi’s Argentina with 2-1 win – SABC News

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Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history on Tuesday, beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 thanks to a brilliant second-half comeback.

In his fifth and final bid for the only major trophy he has missed, Messi, 35, scored a 10th-minute penalty in a dominant first half that saw him and Lautaro Martinez also have three goals ruled out for offside.

But Saudi Arabia, the tournament’s second-ranked team behind Ghana, threw caution to the wind early in the second half, pouncing on Argentina’s defense in front of a frenzied crowd of 88,012.

Saleh Al-Shehri fired in a low shot in the 48th minute, while Salem Al-Dawsari fired home a scorching shot from the edge of the box in the 53rd minute to leave Argentina and Messi looking thoroughly shaken in the Group C clash.

Despite plenty of the ball after that, Argentina couldn’t break through against Saudi Arabia, who were competing in their sixth World Cup but had never won their opening game before.

“CARE OUR DREAMS”

The entire game was played in an extraordinary atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s traditionally massive and boisterous fans accompanied by thousands of Saudis who had traveled across the border to support their team.

“Our team makes our dreams come true!” and “Where is Messi? We beat him!” the green-clad Saudis chanted over and over again at Lusail Stadium, standing on their feet and cheering every break from their defense with a deafening roar.

Both teams need to travel to Mexico and Poland, and Argentina need an immediate response if Messi is to have any real chance of matching Diego Maradona’s immortality on home soil by taking home the World Cup.

The result broke Argentina’s astonishing 36-match unbeaten run and fell short of Italy’s previous international record of 37 games unbeaten.

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