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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Kieran King

Argentina stunned as they have three goals ruled out in Saudi Arabia World Cup defeat

Argentina were left stunned in the first half of their World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia as they had three goals chalked off for offside.

Lionel Scaloni's side took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes through a controversial Lionel Messi penalty, with the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner coolly slotting home after Leandro Paredes had been brought down. Roy Keane and Graeme Souness had differing opinions about whether the penalty should've been given, with the former insistent that it was not a foul.

Meanwhile, the South Americans thought they had doubled their advantage when Messi calmly tucked the ball into the bottom corner. Messi broke in behind the Saudi defence, took a couple touches and passed home beyond the goalkeeper, only to turn and see the raised flag from the assistant.

Replays showed Messi was marginally offside, with the Paris Saint-Germain star just leaning forward beyond the last defender. The Green Falcons had been playing with a very high line and almost got caught once again in the 28th minute when Lautaro Martinez broke clear, before the forward rounded the 'keeper and slotted home.

Once again, there was another VAR check and the technology revealed Martinez had just strayed offside - to the frustration of the Argentina players. A replay from VAR showed that his sleeve was in an offside position.

Despite those near scares, Saudi kept playing with the high line and Argentina saw a third goal ruled out when Messi's pass found Martinez through on goal and he kept his composure by tucking home. However, the Inter Milan forward cut a frustrated figure once again when he saw the flag go up. This one, unlike Martinez's previous offside call, was far more clear cut with the striker at least three yards off.

Argentina had three goals ruled out for offside (Getty Images)

It proved to be a dominating first-half performance from Argentina, but the tide began to turn when the Saudi's grabbed a shock equaliser in the 48th minute through Salah Al-Shehri. worked a yard of space with which to shoot, fired it between the legs of the defender Cristian Romero and then across Emiliano Martinez into the far corner.

This caused mayhem amongst the travelling Saudi fans and Argentina collapsed. The Green Falcons turned the game on its head through Salem Al-Dawsari. The winger was first onto the ball following another effort that was deflected out. He took a step to his right, before curling a shot into the top corner beyond a diving Martinez.

It was all Argentina after Saudi's second goal and Scaloni's side pressed to get back into the game. Substitute Julian Alvarez saw one header well saved, while Lionel Messi tried to make things happen, but they were unable to break down a resolute Saudi defence as the Green Falcons shocked the world in their opening World Cup clash.

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