Saudi Arabia defender Yasser Al-Shahrani underwent successful emergency surgery after suffering a broken jaw during a sickening clash with goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais in his country’s historic 2-1 win over Argentina . There were immediate concerns for the player’s safety after he was apparently knocked unconscious following the unfortunate crash that has now left him out for the rest of the tournament in devastating fashion.
Saudi Arabia defended for their lives as Argentina searched for an equalizer as Herve Renard’s team put their bodies on the line for their country.
But when a cross was raised in the box, goalkeeper Al-Owais came to collect the ball and missed his defender as his knee smashed into Al-Shahrani’s jaw.
The Al-Hilal star flew back to his homeland and has since undergone a successful procedure on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Saudi Federation.
“Yasser Al-Shahrani underwent successful surgery on his pancreatic gland at the National Guard Hospital in Riyadh,” they said on social media.
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The incident put a damper on a momentous day for Saudi Arabia, which will qualify for the round of 16 if it can beat Poland this weekend.
A national holiday was confirmed for Wednesday after the historic win was secured by two brilliant second-half goals from Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari.
Head coach Renard, who was notably sacked by English club Cambridge United in 2004, attributed the win to Argentina’s complacency.
“To sum it all up, today all the planets aligned. Argentina is a fantastic team, champion of the last Copa América, but football is like that, it’s crazy and we won”, said the coach, two-time champion of the African Cup of Nations.
“It can happen that the motivations are not the best when you play against inferior teams, it happens to us too: if you are Argentina and you play against Saudi Arabia you don’t have the same motivations as when you play against Brazil.” .”
Saudi Arabian fans have flocked to Doha as they can cross the border from their homeland to cheer on their beloved nation.
Japan have since drawn inspiration from Saudi Arabia in coming from behind to beat Germany 2-1 in Group E.
The underdogs trailed at half-time after Ilkay Gundogan’s opening goal from the penalty spot, but goals from inspired substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Osano turned the show around.
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