Messi on target as Argentina beat Brazil
Published: 10:10 AM, 16 November 2019 Updated: 01:02 PM, 16 November 2019
Lionel Messi scored on his first Argentina appearance since July as they beat old rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Messi was returning from a three-month ban for saying the Copa America was "fixed for Brazil", with the hosts beating Argentina in the semi-final and Peru in the July final.
The Barcelona forward had a penalty saved by Alisson in the friendly but scored the rebound for his 69th international goal.
Brazil had earlier missed a penalty of their own by that point. Gabriel Jesus calmly rolled his spot-kick just wide after being brought down by Leandro Paredes minutes earlier.
There were no other goals in a sloppy first half, although Messi did force Alisson into another save with a low shot from distance just before half-time.
The second-half predictably saw a raft of substitutions. Arthur went off on 55 minutes and was replaced by Liverpool midfielder Fabinho.
Messi went close to grabbing his second with a free-kick on 66 minutes. The GOAT curled an effort over the ball but saw Alisson just manage to tip it over the crossbar.
The Liverpool goalkeeper also had to be alert to push a shot from Paredes over the bar after good work from Germán Pezzella, while Lautaro Martinez fired a good chance over shortly afterwards.
Brazil had a chance to grab a late equaliser in stoppage time when Rodrygo crossed for Wesley, but he was let down by a poor first touch as Argentina secured the win.
Argentina now goes on to face Uruguay in Tel Aviv on Monday, but the game could be cancelled due to fighting in Israel. Meanwhile, Brazil play South Korea in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, their last game before the 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin in March.
Brazil have failed to win in the five games since winning the Copa America.