Brazil’s Miranda silences Argentina with injury-time header
Published : 17 Oct 2018, 09:19:22
Brazil snatched a dramatic 1-0 win over Argentina with an injury-time header from Miranda in their friendly match in front of a sell-out crowd in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
The Inter Milan centre-back was left all alone to thump in a 93rd-minute effort from Neymar’s corner when the match between the fierce South American rivals seemed destined for a stalemate.
The lapse spoiled an otherwise strong defensive performance from Argentina, who contained Brazil for long periods.
He may be 34, but Miranda, whose career has also seen him play in France and Spain, says he is far from done in the yellow shirt of Brazil.
“Despite my age I’ve been able to show that I’m in good physical shape and, of course, I want to keep playing for the national team because I still have a lot to show in this jersey,” he said.
With Neymar to the fore, Brazil exerted late pressure and could have scored in the few minutes before Miranda struck.
Casemiro came close with a 25-yard free-kick manufactured by Neymar that flew past goalkeeper Sergio Romero’s left post. Then Nicolas Otamendi stuck out a boot to deflect a diverted shot from Richarlison in the last minute.
Argentina’s best chance came during a period of pressure around the hour mark, when Leandro Paredes hit a swerving, dipping drive that had Brazil keeper Alisson beaten.
But while Brazil named a strong team including Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino alongside Neymar in attack, Argentina were without a host of top stars, including Lionel Messi.
“It’s always difficult, but our team is better than theirs because we’ve had the same foundations for many years while they’re in the process of a drastic renovation,” Brazil’s full-back Felipe Luis told TV Globo.
Missing from the Argentina line-up were also Manchester City’s in-form forward Sergio Aguero, Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria and AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Messi has sat out Argentina’s last four matches, all friendlies, since the country’s disappointing last-16 elimination from the World Cup in Russia.
He is believed to have asked for some time off from international duty ahead of next year’s Copa America in Brazil.
It was the 105th time the South American arch-rivals have faced each other in an official match, with Brazil marginally ahead on 41 wins to 38, with 26 draws.
The two sides last met in June 2017 in a friendly in Australia, won 1-0 by Argentina, but Brazil romped to a 3-0 success in their last competitive fixture, a World Cup qualifier in November 2016.-AFP