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Qatar 2022: Messi’s opener not enough as Saudi sink Argentina

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 Qatar 2022 Messi s opener not enough as Saudi sink Argentina
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Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia as their highly anticipated 2022 World Cup campaign began with a seismic Group A defeat by the 750-1 outsiders.

The Albiceleste, unbeaten in 36 matches over the past three years, went ahead with a ninth-minute penalty from captain Lionel Messi, looking to cap a wonderful career by winning the tournament at the fifth attempt.

But Argentina failed to capitalise on their first-half dominance, having three further goals – one for Messi, two for Lautaro Martinez – ruled out for offside.

They were made to pay in a remarkable opening to the second half as Saudi Arabia first equalised and then
went in front in the space of five sensational minutes.

First Saleh Al-Shehri surged past Christan Romero and clipped a left-foot shot into the far corner before, in the 53rd minute, Salem Al-Dawsari spun round, swerved away from a defender and curled in a brilliant effort from the left-edge of the area into into the top-right corner.

Argentina tried to find a way back into the game, but Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Owais made a series of saves from Nicolas Tagliafico, Messi and Julian Alvarez to seal one of the most remarkable results in World Cup history.

Saudi Arabia now have a chance of reaching the last 16 for only the second time as they prepare to face Poland next, while Argentina must pick themselves up before facing Mexico.

vanguard newspaper

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