Pre-tournament favourites Argentina endured the worst doable begin to their World Cup marketing campaign as their 36-game unbeaten run got here to an finish with a deserved 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Lionel Messi scored a penalty inside ten minutes however a fight-back from Saudi Arabia was sealed with glorious objectives from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari after the break.
Messi’s first sight of purpose got here inside two minutes as he ran on to a free ball however simply could not bend his effort away from Saudi stopper Mohammed Al Owais.
Their quick begin continues as VAR chimed in to award Argentina a penalty within the eighth minute as Saud Abdulhamid was seen pulling Leandro Paredes’ shirt, and up stepped Messi to open the scoring with a composed end from 12 yards.
Saudi Arabia responded effectively, nevertheless, with their excessive press inflicting loads of issues for Argentina as Lionel Scaloni’s males retained possession however did not all the time look comfy doing so.
The Saudi excessive line created loads of house in behind and Messi regarded to have exploited that when he completed off a one-on-one 22 minutes in, just for the offside flag to appropriately rule it out. Lautaro Martinez had the ball at the back of the online twice within the subsequent ten minutes however each efforts met the identical destiny.
Regardless of Argentina having the ball at the back of the online 4 occasions within the first half, they had been solely 1-0 up on the break, with Saudi Arabia nonetheless very a lot within the recreation.
That profligacy was punished as Saleh Al-Shehri beat Cristian Romero for tempo and arrowed an ideal strike throughout the purpose and into the underside nook.
Eight minutes into the second half, Argentina had been behind as Salem Al-Dawsari curled an excellent effort from the sting of the penalty space into the highest nook. A very sensational strike.
A sensational problem from Hassan Altambakti prevented Messi from tapping residence an equaliser, earlier than Nicolas Tagliafico didn’t convert from round two yards as Al Owais pulled off an excellent save to maintain his aspect forward.
Argentina’s seek for a second purpose got here by means of fixed crosses into the field however they not often posed any actual menace, except for a comfortable Messi header which was gleefully collected by the goalkeeper.
Julian Alvarez noticed an effort hooked away off the road in stoppage time as Argentina desperately tried to claw their approach again into the sport, however they simply could not discover one other approach by means of the sensational Saudi defence.
The sport ended on a bitter notice as Yasir Al Shahrani was caught by the knee of his goalkeeper in a determined try to clear the ball. The left-back was transferring earlier than being stretchered off and was seen giving the thumbs up, decided to not let his situation spoil a momentous victory for Saudi Arabia.
GK: Emiliano Martinez – 6/10 – Did not have a lot to do in any respect except for choosing the ball out of his web.
RB: Nahuel Molina – 5/10 – Did not supply sufficient going ahead and light on the again.
CB: Cristian Romero – 5/10 – Acquired brutally nutmegged within the first half and crushed for the purpose. Did not look totally match.
CB: Nicolas Otamendi – 6/10 – Had a tricky battle in opposition to the Saudi forwards and largely did alright.
LB: Nicolas Tagliafico – 6/10 – Most of Saudi Arabia’s early menace got here down Tagliafico’s aspect and the left-back did very effectively to cope with it.
RM: Angel Di Maria – 4/10 – Felt wasted out broad. In a number of house however not all the time concerned within the recreation.
CM: Leandro Paredes – 4/10 – Did not do sufficient and was caught out for the equaliser.
CM: Rodrigo de Paul – 3/10 – Not concerned sufficient and responsible of unforced errors which invited strain.
LM: Alejandro Gomez – 3/10 – Actually struggled to impression the sport from out broad. Not his strongest exhibiting.
ST: Lionel Messi – 6/10 – A menace to the Saudi defence from the primary minute, though he discovered house exhausting to return by within the second half.
ST: Lautaro Martinez – 4/10 – Some harmful attacking runs however must revise the offside rule earlier than the following recreation.
SUB: Julian Alvarez (59′ for Gomez) – 5/10 – Did not supply an entire lot down the left.
SUB: Enzo Fernandez (59′ for Paredes) – 6/10 – Restored a little bit of management to the midfield battle.
SUB: Lisandro Martinez (59′ for Romero) – 6/10 – Did not have a lot to do as all of the motion was on the different finish of the pitch.
SUB: Marcos Acuna (70′ for Tagliafico) – 5/10 – Excessive crosses in the direction of Martinzez and Messi did not make a lot sense.
Supervisor: Lionel Scaloni – 4/10 – Could not modify to the Saudi excessive line and his triple substitution on the hour mark did not change a lot.
GK: Mohammed Al Owais – 8/10 – Benefitted from a variety of offside calls however often did his job when required. An excellent save from Tagliafico.
RB: Saud Abdulhamid – 7/10 – A very silly resolution to concede the penalty which marred an in any other case excellent efficiency.
CB: Hassan Altambakti – 9/10 – Some actually clever positioning to constantly catch Argentina offside. Made an unreal problem to cease Messi early within the second half. Celebrated each sort out like a purpose.
CB: Ali Al-Bulayhi – 8/10 – Equally, made some courageous selections that commonly paid off.
LB: Yasir Al Shahrani – 7/10 – Actually spectacular down the left. Caught Di Maria out on a variety of events.
DM: Abdulelah Al Malki – 7/10 – Most likely slightly too aggressive together with his challenges however cannot argue with the effectivity.
RM: Saleh Al-Shehri – 7/10 – Took his purpose extremely effectively and was an actual pest for Argentina.
CM: Mohamed Kanno – 8/10 – Everywhere in the pitch as he dominated the midfield battle at each ends of the sector. Actually spectacular.
CM: Salman Al-Faraj – 6/10 – Picked up an damage early on and battled on with it till simply earlier than half-time.
LM: Salem Al-Dawsari – 7/10 – An completely sensational purpose. They do not come significantly better on a stage like this.
ST: Firas Al-Buraikan – 7/10 – A fairly lucky help for the primary purpose however it was a minimum of his play deserved.
SUB: Nawaf Al-Abid (45′ for Al-Faraj) – 6/10 – Introduced some good power in midfield.
SUB: Sultan Al Ghanam (78′ for Al-Shehri) – 6/10 – Did his job to assist out on the again.
SUB: Abdulelah Al Amri (88′ for Al-Abid) – N/A
SUB: Haitham Asiri (88′ for Al-Buraikan) – N/A
SUB: Mohammed Al Burayk (99′ for Al Shahrani) – N/A
Supervisor: Herve Renard – 9/10 – A very daring technique which noticed his aspect permit three offside objectives within the first half, however you possibly can’t argue with the outcomes. Renard took a large threat and it paid off.