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.
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.
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.