Brazil 0-1 Argentina: Lionel Messi marks his return to the international side by scoring a penalty rebound after Gabriel Jesus missed his minutes earlier in feisty Superclasico
- Brazil had a penalty inside 10 minutes but Gabriel Jesus fired horribly wide
- Argentina were given a spot kick of their own after Alex Sandro took out Messi
- Messi’s penalty was parried away by Allison but he poked home on the rebound
- He was featuring for the first time since being sent off against Chile back in July
Argentina earned the bragging rights over Brazil after Lionel Messi’s goal secured a slender 1-0 victory against their fierce rivals in Saudi Arabia.
In a nip-and-tuck game that was anything but friendly, Messi marked his first appearance for Argentina since being sent off against Chile at the Copa America in July by scoring on the rebound after Alisson palmed away his penalty.
This fixture is rarely lacking in drama, and there was plenty of it inside the first quarter of an hour.
Lionel Messi (right) was taken down in the penalty area by Juventus defender Alex Sandro
Messi steps up to take the spot kick but sees his initial effort parried away by Brazil’s Alisson
Argentina’s captain is a relieved man and celebrates after sweeping home from the rebound
Argentina failed to clear, with Spurs defender Juan Foyth giving away possession and allowing Gabriel Jesus to bear down on goal – only to be bundled over in the box by German Pezzella.
The City forward stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, but after sending Andrada the wrong way he miscued his effort painfully wide of the post after a lethargic run-up.
It only took three minutes for Argentina to compound the nightmare for Brazil as Messi found space in the area, but Alex Sandro timed his tackle poorly and clipped the superstar – handing them a penalty of their own.
Messi is swamped by his team-mates after they take the lead in the hotly contested match
Casemiro goes lunging in on Argentina midfielder Rodrigo De Paul to earn himself a yellow
Brazil: Alisson, Danilo, Eder Militao, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro (Renan Lodi 64), Casemiro (Wesley 86), Arthur (Fabinho 55), Lucas Paqueta (Coutinho 45), Gabriel Jesus (Richarlison 70), Willian (Rodrygo 70), Firmino
Subs not used: Santos, Fuzato, Emerson, Renan Lodi, Felipe, Marquinhos, Douglas Luiz, Wesley.
Booked: Casemiro, Danilo, Fabinho
Argentina: Andrada, Foyth, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico, De Paul (Dominguez 90), Paredes (Rodriguez 82), Lo Celso (Acuna 59), Messi, Lautaro Martinez (Alario 88), Ocampos (Gonzalez 74).
Subs not used: Musso, Damian Martinez, Dybala, Kannemann, Aguero, Saravia, Mac Allister.
Booked: Tagliafico, De Paul, Paredes
Goals: Messi 13
The Barcelona star, playing his first game since a red card in the Copa America in July, nearly suffered the same embarrassment as Jesus when his tame strike was parried by Alisson.
But the captain made no mistake at the rebound and fired Argentina into the lead.
Brazil went on the hunt for an equaliser as Willian, playing on the left, floated a ball into the box, with Paqueta getting on the end of it but sending his shot off target.
Sloppiness from the Samba stars nearly cost them a second goal with half time looming, as Arthur over-hit a pass in his own half and thumped it into one of his team-mates – the ball kindly rebounding into the path of Messi.
Messi is the last player teams want to put clean through on goal, but luckily for Brazil, Alisson came to the rescue, narrowing down the angle and deflecting the shot away.
Brazil showed the quality they possess in the second half, but also summed up their inability to finish.
Substitute Philippe Coutinho zigzagged his way past a handful of players before lofting a ball over the top to Jesus, who wasted the chance by cutting inside as Argentina cleared their lines.
Alisson saves Brazil by deflecting away Messi’s shot after the forward was put clean through
Lautaro Martinez (lrft) is watched carefully by Brazil captain Thiago Silva and Alex Sandro
The five-time World Cup winners will know how deadly Messi is from free kicks having scored 19 in the last three seasons, and Alisson was needed to palm another expertly taken dead ball over his crossbar.
You could tell Argentina were sensing another goal and Leandro Paredes saw the opportunity as the ball was rolled into his path and he unleashed a piledriver towards the top right hand corner, with Alisson doing well to turn it behind for a corner.
And with Brazil running out of time to get something from the game, Argentina missed another good chance to finish them off when Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez controlled a cross outside the six-yard box but blasted well over.