Saudi Arabia’s historic Group C opening victory against Argentina came at a price.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, while protecting their 2-1 advantage, Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais accidentally kneed teammate and star defender Yasser Al-Shahrani in the face as he rushed off his line to knock away an Argentine cross.
Alowais and his companions displayed instant worry for Al-Shahrani as they urgently signaled for trainers to attend to him on the ground. Al-Shahrani, a 30-year-old Saudi Arabian club player for Al-Hilal, seemed to be bleeding while he was treated.
Al-Shahrani was unable to walk off the field, so he was taken off on a stretcher.
Due to the injury and the game being halted for a few minutes, Saudi Arabia had to defend their now-famous advantage for a few further minutes. Even though referee Slavko Vincici initially added eight minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle did not sound until the eleventh minute.
The loss of Al-Shahrani, one of the most experienced players on the squad, would be devastating for Saudi Arabia, who currently have a genuine shot of advancing to the knockout round. Poland is up next for Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Al-injury Shahrani’s occurs just one day after Alireza Beiranvand’s head injury during Iran’s opening defeat to England sparked criticism.
Beiranvand seemed gravely hurt after the crash and remained on the ground while being treated by physicians. Despite the fact that backup goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini was warming up, Iran choose to keep Beiranvand on the field. (Injured outfielders are permitted to temporarily leave the field as play resumes in order to verify their fitness before to being formally replaced, but goalies cannot leave their goal unattended.)
Upon the resumption of play, however, Beiranvand returned to the field and was subsequently replaced by Hosseini.
During stoppage time, Mohammed Al-Owais catches Yasser Al-Shahrani with a flying knee.
Saudi Arabian players urgently request that medical personnel rush onto the pitch.
Saudi Arabia scored two second-half goals to complete a comeback against Argentina and pull off one of the greatest surprises in World Cup history. Saudi Arabia entered the tournament as the second-largest underdog, behind only host nation Qatar.