Argentina beats Brazil 1-0 in friendly before 95000 fans

Paola Ditto
Giugno 11, 2017

Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado scores the only goal as Argentina record a 1-0 win over Brazil in Friday's showpiece worldwide friendly in Melbourne.

Gabriel Mercado's opener on the stroke of halftime was enough to send Argentina's fierce South American rivals packing on Friday night, in the process ending Brazil coach Tite's undefeated record since taking the job 12 months ago.

World No.1 Brazil will be without Barcelona superstar Neymar but have brought a host of other big names to Australia in Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho, his teammate and rising star Gabriel Jesus, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva and Chelsea's David Luiz.

Thomas Hoon added: "I kind of expected it as these trips are generally for second-string players trying to prove themselves".

It contrasts to the approach of relaxed but no less serious Brazil, whose intensive training has been open to the media at Lakeside Stadium while the world's No.1 team have also provided two players to the media at the end of each session. Argentina will be eager to get some measure of vengeance for a heavy 3-0 loss they suffered at Brazil's hands in November, a loss that threatened to severely set back their World Cup dreams.

Argentina's covert operation underlines the pressure the squad, particularly Messi and Sampaoli, are under, with the two-time World Cup winners having failed to qualify just once, back in 1970.

"I would have liked to achieve more things, like being in the Champions League final and win the league, but it was not to be", he said.

Tite said Brazil had to make better use of their "technical power".

"They are very good players, individually, and these friendly games give us the opportunity to test their compatibility and see how well they can work together", Sampaoli said.

"So it doesn't matter how strongly we want him to play if the medical advice is to the contrary".

And Brazil's evening got worse when Jesus was carried off in injury time after being elbowed in the face by Otamendi, an offence which went unpunished.

Brazilian expat David Junior said any match between the two teams was a matter of national pride.

"Jesus is fine", Edu told reporters. "He did the exam to see if it (his jaw) is broken or not but nothing has happened".

Argentina tasted victory in their first match under new boss Jorge Sampaoli.

Barcelona ace Messi will marry his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo on June 30, with Otamendi's wedding scheduled for June 16.

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