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Saudi Arabia stun Messi’s Argentina with 2-1 victory

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(Last Updated On: November 22, 2022)

Saudi Arabia produced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history to beat Argentina 2-1 in their Group C opener on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s goals were scored by Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari.

The 51st-ranked Saudis were trailing to Lionel Messi’s 10th minute penalty, but Al-Shehri squeezed in an angled shot in the 48th minute.

Saudi Arabia’s fans were then sent into delirium five minutes later as Al-Dawsari curled a stunning shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Argentina were on course to match Italy’s record 37-match unbeaten run after the mercurial Messi opened his fifth and final World Cup by stroking home a 10th-minute penalty.

But for three goals being chalked off for offside, one for Messi and two for Lauturo Martinez, Argentina would have been home and dry before halftime but the game was turned on its head after the break in extraordinary fashion.

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Afghan cricket team moves its homeground to the UAE

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and the Emirates Cricket Board have entered into a five-year mutual cooperation agreement that will see the ACB host its home fixtures in the United Arab Emirates.

The five-year agreement will allow ACB to utilize UAE’s world-class venues for its home fixtures.

In 2016, Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida became the home ground for the Afghanistan national cricket team after they previously played out of Sharjah, in the UAE.

According to the ACB, Afghanistan will play a series of three-T20I matches annually, against the UAE, for the duration of the agreement.

In return, the Emirates Cricket Board will provide valuable logistic support to the Afghanistan Cricket Board, including visa assistance and office space.

Naseeb Khan, the ACB CEO, acknowledged the cooperation between both countries and expressed his confidence that this fruitful agreement will serve and benefit both parties’ future goals and ambitions.

Mubashir Usmani, the General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board said: “Both parties, the Emirates Cricket Board and the Afghanistan Cricket Board enjoy long and cordial relations and we are happy to support the ACB in ensuring that they have a home for their cricket.

“We are also thankful to the Afghanistan Cricket Board for agreeing to play a series of T20I matches against UAE Team each year. This will provide our UAE team with invaluable exposure and help in their development.”

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Messi magic guides relieved Argentina past Mexico

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Lionel Messi kept his dream of winning his first World Cup alive by rifling in the opening goal in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in World Cup Group C, proving he was far from done in the tournament.

The Argentine, competing in his fifth World Cup at age 35, has won every other major title in his career but has failed to lift the coveted trophy despite making the final in 2014, Reuters reported.

But his 64th minute strike that was followed by substitute Enzo Fernandez’s sublime effort three minutes from time, reignited their hopes of advancing past the group stage after their shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opener.

Messi, who equalled Diego Maradona’s Argentina record of 21 matches and eight goals at the World Cup, was nowhere to be seen for more than an hour before picking up an Angel Di Maria pass, finding just enough space and rifling in from 20 meters.

Substitute Fernandez made sure of the victory when he curled a superb shot into the top corner.

Argentina, on three points, can guarantee progress with a win over Poland, top on four, in their final game on Wednesday.

“Today starts another World Cup for Argentina,” Messi said. “I tell people the same thing, that they continue to believe. Today we did what we had to do.

“We had no other choice. We had to win so that we depended only on ourselves.

“The first half we didn’t play as we should and in the second, when we calmed down, we started to play the ball better and until the goal we went back to being what we are,” he said.

Mexico, who have now lost all four World Cup clashes with Argentina, have one point and must beat Saudi Arabia, on three, to have any chance of continuing their run of making the last 16 in the last seven World Cups, but even that might not be enough.

With the prospect of an Argentina elimination, tensions were high on and off the ball in a scrappy first half but with the two sets of fans creating an electric atmosphere in the stadium, Reuters reported.

Neither team wanted to commit too many players forward and apart from a free kick by Mexico’s Luis Chavez in the ninth minute that sailed past the goalmouth there were few chances.

Mexico’s high pressing game stifled most of their opponents’ attack and Messi struggled to find any space to maneuver in a congested midfield.

Apart from a Lautaro Martinez effort that was well off the mark and another from Messi, Argentina were toothless up front.

But in a major blow to Mexico, skipper Andres Guardado, a veteran of five World Cups who until then had been a commanding presence in midfield, had to be taken off injured in the 42nd.

The Mexicans still carved out two more chances with Alexis Vega before the break but the tables would turn in the second half.

The South Americans looked more determined after the break and their captain and talisman dragged them out of trouble with his second goal of the tournament.

The stadium erupted in cheers once more with Fernandez’s late strike which sealed Argentina’s first win in the tournament and rekindled Messi’s hopes of a first ever World Cup title that would match that of the late Maradona from 1986.

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Qatar eliminated from World Cup after Netherlands and Ecuador draw

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Qatar became the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup on Friday after Group A rivals the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1.

The Dutch and Ecuador each have four points, Senegal have three. Qatar are without a point after they lost their opening game 2-0 to Ecuador and then went down 3-1 to Senegal earlier on Friday. 

“If you expected us to go very far in this tournament, then it will be a disappointment,” Qatar coach Félix Sánchez said before his team was officially out. “Our goal was to be competitive.”

Qatar cannot qualify whatever happens in their final match against the Netherlands on Tuesday.
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