Saudi Arabia star gets to play against Cristiano Ronaldo as he makes debut against Real Madrid

Salem Al-Dawsari played 33 minutes against Real Madrid on Saturday night. (@Arab_Villarreal)
Updated 20 May 2018

Saudi Arabia star gets to play against Cristiano Ronaldo as he makes debut against Real Madrid

  • Salem Al-Dawsari plays 33 minutes against Real Madrid
  • He helps Villarreal come from two goals down to rescue a point

Saudi Arabia star Salem Al-Dawsari came off the bench on Saturday night to make his La Liga debut and help turn the game against Real Madrid on its head.
The winger has been waiting patiently for his chance since joining Villarreal on loan from Al-Hilal in February and he must have feared his time in Spain would finish without a single minute of action, but he was surprisingly thrown on by coach Javier Calleja for the final 33 minutes and he made quite the impact.
Buoyed by scoring for his country against Greece in midweek, Al-Dawsari came on for Javi Fuego after 57 minutes and injected new energy into the Yellow Submarines’ line-up. Pitched out on the left wing, he linked up nicely with his teammates and grew in confidence as the match wore on. On 70 minutes, Al-Dawsari picked up the ball near the center circle, exchanged passes with Rodri, then with Pablo Fornals, creating space for the former to set up Roger Martinez for Villarreal’s first goal.
Al-Dawsari then saw fellow substitute Samu Castillejo score an 85-minute equalizer to grab a point that meant they finished fifth. Champions League finalists Real Madrid had been two goals up inside 32 minutes thanks to efforts from Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fahad Al-Muwallad was the first player from the Kingdom to play in La Liga when he came on as a substitute for Levante against Leganes earlier this month. And the forward, who is nailed on to be in Saudi Arabia’s World Cup squad, got more top-level minutes under his belt on Saturday when he came on as a 75th-minute substitute in Levante’s 4-2 defeat at Celta Vigo.

World Cup live: Saudi Arabia v. Uruguay

Updated 1 min 44 sec ago

World Cup live: Saudi Arabia v. Uruguay

6.25PM: GOAL - Luis Suarez scores from a corner with a deft finish, it's his 52nd goal for Uruguay...

6.20PM: Uruguay haven't clicked here so far, and Saudi Arabia are holding their own. They are passing and moving much better than last Thursday and they are stopping any potential Uruguay break from the off. A marked improvement from Pizzi's team...

6.12PM: Phil Neville, former Manchester United and England defender on BBC: "Saudi Arabia have actually started this game very brightly. They had a quick corner that Uruguay weren't prepared for there, but the ball in just lacked quality."

6:08PM: A much brighter start from Saudi Arabia in this game than against Russia, the fans are hopeful of a better Green Falcons showing too...


6:00PM: We're under way - Saudi Arabia must improve from that Russia game, let's see how the fare early on...

5:50PM: All smiles from Saudi players before the game...they're on their way out now in this crucial game, kick-off just a few minutes away...

5.45PM: Saudi Arabia Starting XI: Al-Owais, Al-Breik, Osama Hawsawi, Al Bulaihi, Al-Shahrani, Bahbir, Al-Faraj, Otayf, Al-Jassam, Al Dawsari, Al-Muwallad.

Saudi Arabia make four changes after their 5-0 opening-night hammering against Russia.

Goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf is left out, meaning Mohammed Al-Owais comes in. Elsewhere, Ali Albulayhi starts in the back four, while Hatan Bahbri moves into midfield and Fahad Almuwallad is in to lead the attack.

Pizzi spoke of his "feeling of shame" in the wake of their Russian nightmare. Expect Saudi Arabia to come out with all guns blazing...

5.40PMUruguay Starting XI: Muslera, Varela, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres, Sanchez, Vecino, Bentancur, Rodriguez, Suarez, Cavani.

5.30PM: Just last Thursday, Saudi Arabia were thrashed by Russia. Now in the way of the Green Falcons is Uruguay - who boast one of the most fearsome frontlines in world football in Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez. Everyone believes Uruguay will win, there's no pressure on Juan Antonio Pizzi's men. Can they cause a monumental upset? Join us, to find out...