MX23RW : Monday, January 21 02:04:04
Oct 16, 2018 at 7pm UK at ​King Abdullah Sports City Reserve Stadium (Jeddah)
Miranda (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Live Commentary: Brazil 1-0 Argentina - as it happened

Relive Brazil's 1-0 win over Argentina as Miranda's goal give the five-time world champions bragging rights over their South American rivals.
Live Commentary: Brazil 1-0 Argentina - as it happened
© Reuters

Brazil sealed victory in the Superclasico mini-tournament courtesy of a late goal to wrap up a 1-0 triumph over South American rivals Argentina this evening.

A largely uneventful contest in Saudi Arabia looked to be heading for penalties between the two sides, who had beaten the hosts and Iraq respectively in their first games.

However, Miranda scored a 93rd-minute winner for Brazil to continue their perfect form since the World Cup and condemn caretaker Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni to his first defeat at the helm.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage below.

6pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's international friendly between Brazil and Argentina!

The latest edition of this South American El Clasico will be played in the unfamiliar surroundings of Saudi Arabia as part of the grandiosely-named Superclasico mini-tournament, which also includes the host nation and Iraq - rather more low-profile footballing nations than these two.

We will have a look both these nations in a moment, but first let's check out the team news...

6.02pmWell, we will bring you the team news once the two nations deign to provide it for us, but while we wait let's first have a look at Brazil, who come into this match still looking to rebuild following what was a fairly disappointing World Cup.

The five-time champions were tipped as the pre-tournament favourites going into Russia 2018, but they only made it as far as the quarter-finals before being knocked out at the hands of even third-place Belgium.

6.04pmIt looked as though Brazil were just beginning to get into their stride when they ran into Belgium too, having won their previous three matches all by a 2-0 scoreline to make it into the last eight.

Brazil's campaign had got off to an underwhelming start when they drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their group opener, but subsequent wins over Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico without conceding had many still tipping them to go all of the way and lift the trophy.

6.06pmTite's side have had things pretty easy since that World Cup exit, winning all three of their friendlies without conceding a goal whilst scoring nine themselves in the process.

Argentina are by far the biggest threat they have faced since that, though, even if La Albiceleste are missing a host of their key players tonight. One which note, they have finally provided their team news...

6.08pmARGENTINA STARTING XI: Romero; Saravia, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico; Paredes, Battaglia, Lo Celso; Dybala, Icardi, Correa

6.08pmARGENTINA SUBS: Rulli, Bustos, Acuna, Meza, Salvio, Cervi, Kannemann, Pereyra, Funes Mori, Ascacibar, Simeone, Martinez

6.10pmBRAZIL STARTING XI: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Casemiro, Arthur, Coutinho; Neymar, Firmino, Jesus

6.12pmAs you can see, then, it is a very strong Brazilian team named by Tite tonight, most notably with Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus both included - the first time they have ever started together for their country.

Tite has usually switched between the pair as the leading striker, but here he opts for both players which effectively costs Manchester United midfielder Fred a place in the team as Philippe Coutinho drops deeper.

6.14pmThe star man for Brazil tonight is most likely to be Neymar, as ever, with the PSG forward in brilliant form for his club side having netted 11 goals in as many games so far this season.

Neymar was not on the scoresheet against Saudi Arabia, but he did claim the assist for both goals and tonight will be looking to notch his 60th international strike in what is his 94th appearance for his country.

Should he manage it then he would be just the 26th player in international football history to reach the 60-goal mark, and the third Brazilian after Pele and Ronaldo.

Neymar sticks a thumb up during a Brazil training session on October 9, 2018© Reuters

6.16pmIt makes for a formidable Brazilian front three, then, and behind them there is plenty more quality with a midfield made up of Barcelona and Real Madrid players.

Coutinho drops into a deeper role to accompany his clubmate Arthur, who comes into the team in place of Renato Augusto. The trip is completed by Casemiro, who is the only member of the midfield to retain his place from the win over Saudi Arabia.

6.18pmThere are also changes at the back from Brazil, most notably of all a start for Alisson Becker, who has been the usual first choice for Tite but was left out in favour of Ederson against Saudi Arabia.

In front of him there are three changes to the back four as Marquinhos is the only player to keeper his place, with Danilo, Miranda and Filipe Luis all coming into the team in place of Fabinho, Pablo and Alex Sandro.

6.20pmThere are star names galore in the Brazilian team, then, but the same cannot be said of Argentina, who have been without Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and others since the World Cup.

Lionel Messi in particular is a big miss as he considers his international future, but Argentina are now looking to give youth a chance ahead of the 2022 World Cup and that explains the inexperience in their squad for this game.

6.22pmWith so much world-class attacking talent having left the scene, Argentina must now turn to the likes of Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala to provide the main source of their firepower - although both have struggled in that case for their country.

Indeed, both players are still goalless at international level, with Dybala having drawn blanks in all of his 15 Argentina games and Icardi without a goal in his five. Icardi was the joint-top scorer in Serie A last season, but was still left out of the Argentina squad for the World Cup.

6.24pmIndeed, the leading scorer in this Argentina team - and the entire squad - is Nicolas Otamendi, who has just four international goals to his name.

No other player in the squad has scored more than one, while in terms of experience it really is stark how little Argentina have. Only three of the 28-man squad named for his double-header have won 20 or more caps for their country, while as many as 19 have won fewer than 10.

6.26pmArgentina have named different goalkeepers in each of their three matches since the World Cup, but Sergio Romero - the most experienced member of the squad - retains his place in between the sticks tonight.

There is plenty of change around the Manchester United keeper, though, with Argentina bringing in seven new faces from their rout of Iraq last time out.

6.28pmBack to Brazil now, and they got their Superclasico mini-tournament off to a winning start on Friday evening courtesy of a 2-0 triumph over Saudi Arabia - although the victory was not always as comfortable as you might expect.

Jesus gave Brazil the lead just before half time, but it took until the 96th minute for them to make it safe through Sandro, despite Saudi Arabia seeing their goalkeeper sent off in the 85th minute.

6.30pmSaudi Arabia are actually the only team Brazil have faced since the World Cup that were also out there in Russia with them, having also eased to victory over USA (2-0) and then thrashed El Salvador 5-0.

Neymar was on the scoresheet in both of those games, with Firmino adding the second against USA and Richarlison (2), Coutinho and Marquinhos getting in on the act against El Salvador,

6.32pmBrazil have now won six of their last seven matches across all competitions, keeping clean sheets in all of those victories, and it is that defensive solidity which has served Tite so well during his time at the helm.

Brazil have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 13 matches - conceding only three goals in that time - while looking back over Tite's entire reign he has kept 22 clean sheets in just 29 games, conceded only eight.

6.34pmBrazil have also only lost two of those 29 games under Tite - as you might expect from such a good clean sheet record - although one of those defeats was at the hands of Argentina and the other was in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Tite has done a fine job since taking over what was a team in turmoil following their 2016 group-stage exit from the Copa America, which came just two years after the debacle of a home World Cup which saw them hammered by Germany in the semi-finals.

6.36pmIt is now 19 matches since Brazil lost under Tite for the first time, and Argentina were the team to inflict that defeat - incidentally in another edition of this famous fixture which was played on neutral turf in Melbourne.

The sense is that Argentina have a much bigger rebuilding job to do than Brazil, though, with many of their star players reaching the age of 30 and beyond without having achieved the trophies which their talent deserves at international level.

6.38pmLionel Messi is, of course, the most glaring example of that, but Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria and others have also been left out of the squad since the World Cup so it is very much a transitional period at the moment.

Lionel Scaloni is the man who has been charged with leading that, although he is still only a caretaker boss as the Argentine FA search for a permanent replacement for Jorge Sampaoli. Victory tonight would certainly force Scaloni's name further into the reckoning.

Argentina's Lionel Messi during the match against Croatia on June 21, 2018© Reuters

6.40pmScaloni is as yet unbeaten as Argentina manager and is also yet to see his side concede a goal, although tonight's match will certainly be the biggest test of that so far.

La Albiceleste have eased to victories over Guatemala and Iraq since the World Cup, while they also drew 0-0 with Colombia last month in the only game against non-minnows of the international game since this summer's tournament.

6.42pmArgentina thrashed Iraq 4-0 in the first match of this mini-tournament, with four different people on the scoresheet and all of them getting their first goals for their country too.

There were also three more different names on the scoresheet in the triumph over Guatemala, so there does appear to be more goals throughout the team in this fledgling new Argentine era, although the ones on which the burden falls most heavily - Icardi and Dybala - have so far failed to live up to it.

6.44pmArgentina could win back-to-back matches for the first time this calendar year tonight, although they will not be favourites to do so and their form has been very inconsistent over the past 11 months or so.

Argentina have won more games than they have lost in that time, but only just with five wins, two draws and four defeats in their last 11 matches stretching back to November.

6.46pmDefence is an area in which Argentina have improved, though, having avoided conceding a single goal since their epic 4-3 defeat to France in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Lionel Scaloni joked in the buildup to this match that he would park the bus, but that may not actually be too far from the truth considering the attacking talent at Brazil's disposal. Another clean sheet for Argentina tonight would make it four on the bounce for the first time since June 2014.

6.48pmArgentina did run eventual champions France as close as anyone with their 4-3 defeat at this summer's World Cup, but all in all it was a disappointing tournament for them, winning just once from their four outings.

La Albiceleste were perhaps a little unfortunate in that their two defeats came at the hands of the two finalists, but they also failed to beat Iceland and did not really deserve to make it any further than they did.

6.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff in Jeddah, which means that it is time for a prediction!

This may be a friendly in name, but there is nothing friendly about these clashes and expect both teams to go for the win tonight. Brazil appear to have the far superior quality, though, and the strength of their starting XI looks ominous for Argentina.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Brazil 2-0 Argentina

6.52pmThis will be the 110th meeting between these two old rivals, and Brazil lead the current head-to-head record with 44 wins to Argentina's 39.

However, the most recent contest between the two sides did go the way of Argentina, with Gabriel Mercado scoring the only goal of the game in June of last year - one of only two defeats suffered by Tite as Brazil boss.

6.54pmThat match was played in front of 96,000 fans in Melbourne, so tonight's contest is the second consecutive time these two have faced off on neutral territory in a friendly.

They have enjoyed a mixed record in recent meetings too, with the last 10 yielding four wins apiece and two draws.

6.56pmIndeed, you have to go back to 2007 for the last time either of these sides won this fixture twice in a run, and on that occasion it was Brazil who managed that feat.

Remarkably, Argentina have not strung together back-to-back wins over their greatest rivals since 1963.

6.58pmRight, we're almost ready for kickoff in Jeddah, so let's have a quick reminder about the team news before we do get started...

BRAZIL STARTING XI: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Casemiro, Arthur, Coutinho; Neymar, Firmino, Jesus

ARGENTINA STARTING XI: Romero; Saravia, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico; Paredes, Battaglia, Lo Celso; Dybala, Icardi, Correa

1 minKICKOFF:  Here we go, then! After lengthy anthems for both teams, Argentina get us underway a little later than planned.

3 minPlenty of noise inside the stadium early on as both teams look to settle into the game. It took less than 15 seconds for the first foul, and I suspect there could be quite a few more to come tonight.

5 minFirmino has started this match through the middle, with Jesus the one to be forced out wide to the right in this front three.

7 minBoth sides have struggled to keep hold of the ball for any significant length of time so far, and therefore are slow to get any rhythm going at the moment.

8 minCLOSE!  The first chance of the match falls to Argentina as Tagliafico latches on to a raking diagonal from Otamendi. The full-back cuts the ball back to the edge of the area an Casemiro cannot cut it out, but Lo Celso drives his subsequent effort wide of the target.

10 minBrazil are beginning to see more and more of the ball now, with Argentina dropping a little deeper to limit the space for those dangerous attackers.

12 minNeymar has already been on the end of a few challenges tonight - complete with the customary theatrics which follow from the PSG man - but Argentina are looking to stop him early using whatever means necessary.

13 minNeymar tries to lift a pass through for Coutinho after a clever run by Firmino off the ball, but his chipped delivery is cut out.

14 minVital piece of defensive work from Icardi as he is at full stretch to turn a dangerous Neymar free kick away from the edge of his own six-yard box.

16 minSlow start to this match as both sides continue to probe for a way through, but still only that Lo Celso strike to talk about so far. Brazil are seeing more of the ball right now, though.

18 minPENALTY APPEAL!  Argentina make a promising break into the box with Correa getting the wrong side of Casemiro before going to ground. It looks worth a shout on first glance, but the referee waves it away.

18 minYELLOW CARD!  Paredes is the first name on the book this evening for a heavy, mistimed challenge.

19 minBetter from Brazil as Firmino makes it to the byline before standing a ball up into the middle, but it is too high for Neymar and Argentina are able to clear.

20 minRomero is called into his first minor piece of action as he gathers a header from Luis, but there was very little power on it and Romero was under no pressure. Simple for the Manchester United man.

22 minA better spell of possession from Argentina, but it all comes either inside their own half or on the halfway line at best and when they do try to get forward they lose the ball.

23 minCLOSE!  Very nervy moment for Alisson as Correa puts the Liverpool keeper under big pressure and almost catches him in possession. The Atletico man goes in for a sliding challenge and very nearly gets his foot to the ball, which would have knocked it in. Alisson just about survives.

25 minThis is quite an even contest at the moment, with both sides struggling to create any really clear chances so far. There have been a few nearly moments, but the vast majority of this game has been played in the middle third.

27 minBrazil's players are growing frustrated by what they see as some rough treatment from the Argentina players at the moment. La Albiceleste certainly have not treated this like a friendly so far!

28 minOFF THE LINE!  Brilliant defending from Otamendi as he gets back onto the line to clear a Miranda effort with a goal-saving block! Miranda had brought down Casemiro's cross really well at the back post before beating Romero with his half-volley, but Otamendi was there.

30 minCLOSE!  Argentina respond by coming close themselves as Dybala swings a free kick towards goal which ripples the side-netting on its way behind. Alisson was worried about that one, and I'm not sure he would have got there!

32 minTime for a drinks break! It is a sweltering night in Jeddah and so the referee calls for a stoppage so the players can take on some refreshments.

34 minA cross from the right arrives on the edge of the Brazil box and Lo Celso gets there first, taking the ball on his chest before going down. There was a slight touch from Jesus, but not enough to go down and the referee is right to wave it away.

36 minJust under 10 minutes remaining in this first half now and, in truth, this one has not quite lived up to the billing so far. Perhaps that was to be expected with a friendly in these conditions, but it has still be fairly underwhelming.

38 minBrazil almost pounce on an Argentine mistake as Jesus intercepts a pass out from defence before finding Neymar. The PSG man has Firmino arriving in support, but he opts against finding him and instead holds on to the ball for just too long.

40 minNeymar produces a lovely piece of skill before being dispossessed, and the ball arrives at the feet of Casemiro. The Real Madrid man looks to let fly, but his long-range strike is blocked by Lo Celso.

42 minBrazil have seen the majority of the possession in this first half, but they have struggled to break Argentina down, which is credited to this young Argentine team against such a talented Brazil side.

44 minWell, let's hope for a better second half than this! This looks destined to peter out into a goalless stalemate at half time here, with neither side showing much urgency in possession.

45 minJust as I say that, Brazil win a free kick right on the edge of the area for a handball. Chance for Tite's side to provide a moment of quality which this match sorely needs...

45+2 min...but Neymar's effort hits the wall. That was a little too close to the edge of the area for him to get it up and then back down again.


8.02pmThe first half comes to an end in Jeddah, then, and it can surely only get better in the second 45 minutes following that uneventful first half.

The South American El Clasico between Brazil and Argentina is yet to live up to its billing, with chances at a premium during the goalless opening 45 minutes.

8.04pmThe standout moment of the match so far saw Nicolas Otamendi clear the ball off the line, denying Brazil a certain goal after Miranda had fired his effort past Romero.

It was poor marking from Argentina as they left the defender open inside the area to collect Casemiro's cross, with his first touch setting up the second for a shot at goal which Otamendi needed to nod off the line.

8.06pmMost of the promising attacking moments have fallen the way of Argentina, though, with Lo Celso and Dybala both coming close with efforts from outside the area.

There was also a nervy moment for Brazil keeper Alisson, who was almost caught in possession by Correa just in front of his own line but narrowly survived by getting the ball away as a sliding challenge came in.

8.08pmNeymar has struggled to exert his usual influence on this game so far, thanks largely to some close and physical attention from the Argentina defenders.

Brazil forward Neymar carries the ball while surrounded by Argentina players during the international friendly between the two sides on October 16, 2018© Reuters

46 minKICKOFF:  Brazil get us back underway for the second half in Jeddah!

48 minCHANCE!  Early chance in this second half for Argentina as Correa skips past Miranda and stands the ball up into the middle which Lo Celso meets with his late run into the box. His header is on target, but too close to Alisson.

50 minTwo Argentina players are left in heaps on the floor, with Lo Celso going down after a clash with Marquinhos and Tagliafico being felled by Jesus. Both should be fine to continue, though.

51 minArgentina catch Brazil out with a quick free kick played through to Icardi, who cuts back onto his right foot but then sees his effort deflected wide of the target for a corner.

53 minBRAZIL SUB: Brazil are forced into their first change of the night here as Danilo appeared to injure himself while making that block. He is replaced by Fabinho.

53 minBRAZIL SUB: Brazil are forced into their first change of the night here as Danilo appeared to injure himself while making that block. He is replaced by Fabinho.

54 minDanilo picked up an ankle injury while blocking that shot from Icardi. It caught the end of his foot, causing him to roll his ankle and it looked like a painful one for the Manchester City man.

56 minWe're now approaching the hour mark and still this match is yet to really catch fire tonight. It really needs some to grab it by the scruff of its neck and provide a moment of real quality.

58 minARGENTINA SUB: Argentina make their first change of the night as Lautaro Martinez replaces Dybala.

60 minSHOT!  This match has been begging for some quality, and Paredes almost provides it with a dipping and swerving 25-yard strike which has Alisson beaten but flies wide of the far post.

61 minPoor from Argentina as Martinez, Icardi and Lo Celso all turn down the chance to shoot from inside the area. The best opening seemed to fall to Icardi, but he took too long over his finish and the chance went begging.

62 minNeymar almost bundles through at the other end, but Otamendi does just about enough to prevent him from squeezing through the ball trickles through to the keeper.

63 minYELLOW CARD!  Angel Correa is the second player in the book tonight.

64 minYELLOW CARD!  ...and he is quickly followed into the book by Lo Celso for a late trip from behind on Fabinho.

65 minBRAZIL SUB: Another change for Brazil here as Jesus is replaced by Richarlison.

66 minYELLOW CARD!  The yellow card is out again, this time for Neymar as he tugs back his man.

68 minARGENTINA SUB: Another change for Argentina as Roberto Pereyra replaces Correa.

69 minYELLOW CARD!  The cards are racking up now as Saravia brings Neymar down with a very heavy challenge on the left side of the area. More theatrics follow from Neymar, who gives it a few needless rolls, but it is a definite yellow card.

70 minCHANCE!  Everyone is expecting Neymar to go for goal from the resulting free kick, but he instead picks out an unmarked Arthur on the volley just inside the area. Arthur connects with his volley beautifully, but it is straight at Romero, who makes the save.

71 minYELLOW CARD!  Yet another card as Miranda is cautioned for a cynical challenge to halt a breakaway.

73 minARGENTINA SUB: Argentina make another change here as Lo Celso wanders off to be replaced by Eduardo Salvio.

75 minBrazil have the chance to break away and look to be through on goal on a couple of occasions, but Argentina recover really well. They have defended brilliantly tonight, particularly in one-on-one scenarios against Brazil's dangerous attackers.

77 minSHOT!  Neymar lines up a long-range free kick, but he gets it all wrong and fires his effort high and wide of the target. Poor free kick by his standards.

79 minJust over 10 minutes remaining in this match now and, to be completely honest, this game doesn't deserve more than a 0-0. It has not been a classic by any stretch of the imagination.

81 minNeymar is again left in a heap on the floor, and for all of his playacting there is no doubt that he gets some heavy-handed treatment. He asks for a yellow this time and you can see why too.

82 minARGENTINA SUB: Marcos Acuna replaces Tagliafico for Argentina with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

83 minAlert play from Romero as he comes off his line to cut out Neymar's clever through-ball with the outside of his boot. It was meant for Luis, but Romero slid in to make the clearance.

84 minYELLOW CARD!  Battaglia is the latest name in the book, and perhaps a little overdue too.

84 minCLOSE!  Brazil win a free kick and Neymar gives up the duties this time, allowing Casemiro to have a go. His effort takes a deflection off the wall which leaves Romero wrong-footed, and he is relieved to see it bobble inches wide of the target.

86 minLess than five minutes remaining in this match now, and Argentina deserve a lot of credit with how they have performed tonight. Brazil had a much more star-studded team than Argentina tonight, but those stars have not been allowed to shine.

88 minARGENTINA SUB: A fifth switch from Argentina as Giovanni Simeone replaces Icardi.

90 minIt looks like it will be penalties! We need a winner tonight in order for one of these two sides to claim the trophy, but it doesn't seem like we will get one from open play.

90+1 minThe host of subs and yellow cards means that there will be four minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+1 minCLOSE!  Richarlison cuts inside from the right and unleashes an early shot which takes deflections off two Argentine defenders before bouncing narrowly wide.


90+3 minGOAL!  Finally the deadlock is broken! Brazil scores what is surely the winner, with Miranda netting in the penultimate minute of stoppage time!

It is dreadful marking from Argentina from the corner, with Miranda being left completely free inside the six-yard box without having to move at all. Neymar picks him out with his corner, and it is a simple enough headed finish.


9.08pmWell, that was by no means the best match you will ever see between these two great footballing nations, but there was at least some drama at the end as Miranda scores a 93rd-minute winner to hand Brazil the victory.

It makes it four wins from four for Brazil without conceding a goal since the World Cup, whereas Argentina are beaten for the first time under caretaker boss Lionel Scaloni.

9.10pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's friendly as Brazil strike late to beat fierce rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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Neymar sticks a thumb up during a Brazil training session on October 9, 2018
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