Lionel Messi 1 – 0 Brazil

by admin on Четверг, Ноябрь 18th, 2010

Lionel Messi scored deep into injury time as Argentina earned victory over Brazil in their friendly in Qatar.

Messi collected a pass from Ezequiel Lavezzi, dribbled past two defenders and brilliantly squeezed a shot into the far corner from 18 yards to win it. Brazil had gone close in the first half when Ronaldinho’s back-heel was saved and Dani Alves struck the crossbar. Argentina replied with a Messi shot that clipped the outside of the post, but the forward was not to be denied. The goal, a typically wonderful effort from the Barcelona maestro, was Messi’s first in five matches against Brazil and earned him his first win against Argentina’s main rivals.

It had seemed as though the game was drifting towards a goalless conclusion after a hugely entertaining first half and soporific second, but the reigning Fifa World Player of the Year conjured up yet another piece of magic to have the decisive say. The way the match began, it scarcely seemed plausible that we would have to wait 92 minutes for a goal at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. In the first half the pace was quick and the action swung from end-to-end as both sets of players sought to lay down a marker with their new managers. Brazil coach Mano Menezes handed a recall to the side to Ronaldinho, the 30-year-old AC Milan playmaker capitalising on his first cap in 17 months with a display full of drive, dribbles and plenty of customary fancy flicks too. Supporting 18-year-old striker Neymar, Ronaldinho was Brazil’s main source of creativity and he nearly found the net halfway through the first half, his impudent back-heel from 10 yards saved well low down to his left by Sergio Romero.

He was at the hub of everything Sergio Batista’s side did and they had their chances too as Javier Zanetti cut inside and fired at Victor, before the Brazilian keeper made a fine double save from Nicolas Pareja and Gonzalo Higuain. The frame of the goal denied both South American sides as Dani Alves latched on to a ball on the right of the Argentina box to rifle against the bar, before Messi skipped into space and hit a sizzling volley from 25 yards that beat Victor only to clip the outside of the post. Try as they might, the teams simply could not repeat the tempo of the first 45 minutes after the break as passes went astray with increasing regularity and opportunities were at a premium. Ronaldinho was still getting into promising positions but he seemed to tire, crossing tamely at Romero when well-placed inside the box down the left, as he was taken off halfway through the half.

For a while, Argentina substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi seemed the game’s most likely architect of a goal — after one fine surge down the right Javier Pastore could only fire his shot straight at the body of Thiago Silva.

As the clock ticked down it became more akin to an exhibition game, with both sides keen not to lose to their fiercest rivals and the players happy to avoid injuries in the middle of hectic schedules for their club teams.

But no-one had accounted for Messi, who shrugged off two attempted challenges to superbly keep his balance and wrong-foot Victor with a pinpoint finish to give the game the goal it deserved.

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