Who is Mohammed Al-Owais, Saudi Arabia goalkeeper who starred in shock win over Argentina?

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais played a crucial role between the sticks as his team stunned Argentina in its opening match of FIFA World Cup 2022.

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Owais was a pillar in goal against Argentina in the World Cup 2022.

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Owais was a pillar in goal against Argentina in the World Cup 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais played a crucial role between the sticks as his team stunned Argentina in its opening match of FIFA World Cup 2022.

Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina in its opening fixture of the FIFA World Cup 2022 with a 2-1 win at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Messi converted a penalty in the 10th minute to put Argentina in the lead. Saudi Arabia equalised in the 48th minute when Saleh Alshehri slotted home from a tight angle. And just five minutes later, the stadium erupted when Salem Aldawsari netted a curler to set Saudi Arabia on course for a historic win.

But one man who rose to the occasion was Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais, who made two crucial saves in the last moments of the second half to deny an equaliser, handing Lionel Messi and his team a shock loss. Saudi Arabia is ranked 51 and Argentina is ranked third in the latest FIFA rankings.

Mohammed Al-Owais of Saudi Arabia makes a save during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Mohammed Al-Owais of Saudi Arabia makes a save during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

With five saves, two claims and 14 accurate passes, the 31-year-old won the Player of the Match award after Saudi Arabia’s historic win.

Beyond his saves, the Saudi Arabia custodian’s off-the-ball movement was also spot on as he played the role of a sweeper-keeper at times, intervening to clear long balls from the midfield.

Which club does Mohammed Alowais play for?

Al-Owais started his club career, 10 years ago at the Saudi club Al-Shabab and currently plays for Al-Hilal. He has won the King Cup and the Saudi Super Cup with Al-Shabab. He won the Saudi Professional League last season with Al-Hilal.

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Is this the Mohammed Alowais’ first World Cup?

This is his second World Cup. The 31-year-old has played in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He was the goalkeeper in the group stage game against Uruguay, which his side lost 0-1.

Saudi Arabia keeper catches his defender with a flying knee

While Al-Owais will be proud of his performance at the Lusail Stadium, there was once incident that he will not be particularly proud of - a clash with roommate Yasser Al-Shahrani as the Saudis put bodies in line to defend the slender lead.

Mohammed Al-Owais (L)of Saudi Arabia collides with teammate Yasser Al-Shahrani during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Mohammed Al-Owais (L)of Saudi Arabia collides with teammate Yasser Al-Shahrani during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

As a result, in the second-half injury time, he caught Al-Shahrani with his knee, as the defender left the field stretchered. Fortunately, for Herve Renard’s side, the good news was Al-Shahrani finally on his feet after leaving the field.

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