A brilliant solo goal in injury time by Lionel Messi earned Argentina a 1-0 victory over their arch-rivals Brazil in Wednesday’s international friendly in Doha, Qatar. The Barcelona superstar picked up the ball midway inside the Brazil half and weaved past four defenders before firing a low shot into the bottom-right corner with just a minute of added time to play. This was the first time that Messi had scored against the senior Brazil team!
It was Messi’s first ever goal against Brazil and allowed Argentina to record their fist win against their old enemies since June 2005. His strike also allowed coach Sergio Batista to celebrate victory in his first game in charge since he was confirmed as the long-term successor to Diego Maradona. For Brazil it was a first defeat in four matches for new coach Mano Menezes, who had led his country to victories in his first three matches at the helm and had not previously seen his team concede a goal.
Argentina were second-best for much of the first half, as Brazil impressed with their slick approach play, and Batista will have been delighted to secure a famous win after the 1-0 loss to Japan in their previous outing. AC Milan forward Ronaldinho was making his first Brazil appearance since April 2009 and although he illuminated the game with some classy touches, he could not prise open the Argentine defence.
Clattering tackles were a recurring feature of the encounter and a glut of second-half substitutions seemed set to usher the game towards an anti-climactic conclusion. A pitch invader who completed a hasty circuit of the pitch raised the crowd from their slumber with 10 minutes to play and Messi’s magical intervention made sure that a forgettable encounter concluded in unforgettable fashion.