A much anticipated Saudi Arabia versus Mexico match on Wednesday night packed out the massive Lusail Stadium, bringing together more than 80,000 fans for the big face-off.
Desperate for a win in Qatar, both teams kicked off the game in style, driving in an early shot at goal just moments after the whistle was blown.
At 3 minutes, Mexico’s Vega makes a break but is quickly rejected by a confident Al Owais. To and fro in the first few moments highlight a lively game for the thousands in the stands, all of whom continue to belt out chants and cheers.
By 12 minutes, Saudi Arabia won a free-kick just a stone through away from the penalty box that is proven to be a near-miss, dipping just below the bar.
By halfway through the first half, possession is 56% in favour of the Mexicans though the Saudis are clearly putting up a fight.
Mexico’s Chavez attempts a volley on the Saudi box but the ball floats comfortably into the goalkeeper’s hands. For the next few moments, Mexico maintains the pressure with the gameplay concentrated in the Saudi box though the net barely sees any movement.
Several yellow cards are raised in the first half of the game as the battle for the first goal runs into half time, though Saudi Arabia did have a cracking chance with a last-ditch header.
The second half kicks off with energy from the Mexicans who have clearly been given a talking-to in the locker room.
Two Mexican goals find the back of the net within just five minutes of each other, sending the minority Mexican fans cheering and the prior liveliness of the Saudis into decline.
Two goals behind and the Saudi confidence appears to have been knocked. Clumsy passes and a failure to penetrate behind the halfway line keeps the zero next to the Saudi flag.
However, a corner kick in the 67 minute gets fans back on their feet and clapping in a last-ditch attempt to inspire the players. Nothing is made of it and the ball rolls back into Saudi territory.
Several Saudi counterattacks are made to the beat of chanting fans but the Falcons just can’t seem to take off this match.
Mexico bombards the Saudi goal several times, sending tensions rising among thousands of Saudi fans who crossed the border for the all important game. As a free kick inches away from the penalty box is called, scores of Saudi fans start to leave the stadium.
More chairs are emptied as an offside goal is disallowed. Mexican fans are in uproar in the 88th minute as a Saudi player goes down after blocking the ball in the penalty box.
Saudi Arabia gets their fans finally cheering in the 95th minute with a last-minute goal by Al-Dawsari. However, the game ends with the Mexican fans cheering into the night.