Brazil 0-1 Argentina: Player ratings as returning Lionel Messi steals attention, Gabriel Jesus has another penalty shocker

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Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi’s rebounded first-half penalty, upon his return from international suspension, three minutes after Gabriel Jesus’ horrendous effort from 12 yards at the opposite end was enough to see Argentina earn a 1-0 win in Riyadh against Brazil.

The 112th-meeting between the South American rivals flickered into life when Fiorentina centre-back German Pezzella was judged to have tripped the aforementioned Manchester City striker. But in front of 22,541 supporters at King Saud University Stadium, his spot-kick trickled wide little more than a week since his failure at club level at Atalanta in the Champions League.

La Albiceleste quickly broke up the pitch and Barcelona icon Messi was nudged over by Juventus left-back Alex Sandro inside the box. The forward dusted himself off and notched a 70th international strike in 138 caps, via a save from Liverpool’s unfortunate Alisson.

Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez and City centre-back Nicolas Otamendi would then spurn glorious close-range opportunities after the break as Brazil – who awarded Real Madrid rising star Rodrygo and Aston Villa forward Wesley debuts from the substitutes’ bench – made it five fixtures without victory.

Here are the player ratings:

BRAZIL (4-3-3)

Alisson 7: Can count himself unlucky not to deny Messi, but lucky further second-half chances didn’t go in. Made seven stop in total.

Danilo 7: Audacious first-half shot, from a ridiculous angle, nearly forced a wonder goal.

Eder Militao 5: Lack of regular action at Madrid showed.

Thiago Silva 6: Not the most mobile centre-back any more, yet retains leadership ability. Struggled when pulled wide by Messi and Co.

Alex Sandro 5: Challenge started outside the box, but contact did continue with Messi.

Arthur 5: Barca midfielder faded out of view after an early, threatening shot.

Casemiro 5: Madrid battler’s lack of urgency transmitted throughout team.

Lucas Paqueta 6: AC Milan forward’s sharp feet and bursts of acceleration were a feature of first-half. Couldn’t keep it up.

Gabriel Jesus 5: Another disastrous penalty this month. Didn’t convince.

Roberto Firmino 5: Uneventful outing for the Liverpool superstar. Linked up well, but few opportunities.

Willian 6: Dangerous first-half cross almost led to a Paqueta goal. Hooked for Rodrygo.

SUBSTITUTES

Philippe Coutinho 6: Bayern Munich loanee was given all of the forgettable second half to impress.

Fabinho 6: Tried to keep things ticking over.

Renan Lodi 6: Second cap for Atletico Madrid left-back.

Richarlison 6: Everton forward asked for a penalty when his shirt was tugged. Didn’t get it.

Rodrygo 6: Debutant couldn’t keep up red-hot Los Blancos scoring form.

Wesley N/A: Last few minutes for Villa attacker.

ARGENTINA (4-4-2)

Esteban Andrada 7: Remained alert in first half, though went wrong way for missed spot-kick. Little to do after the break.

Juan Foyth 5: Unforgivable loss of possession in the first half from Tottenham defender forced Pezzella into collision with Jesus.

German Pezzella 6: Could do little about the penalty, scrambling to correct Foyth error.

Nicolas Otamendi 6: Will regret not making better connection with looped cross towards the death.

Nicolas Tagliafico 5: Little nudge on Jesus inside the box from Ajax left-back went ignored.

Lucas Ocampos 5: Couldn’t replicate exciting form with Sevilla in international colours, this time.

Leandro Paredes 7: Tried to get passing going in difficult circumstance. Stung Alisson’s fingertips from distance.

Giovani Lo Celso 6: Smashed into by Danilo before half-hour mark. Little else of note occurred.

Rodrigo De Paul 5: Udinese winger did not do a great deal.

Lionel Messi 7: The man everyone came to see did not disappoint against side whom he incurred three-month international ban for stating summer’s Copa America was “fixed for Brazil”. Alert to follow up penalty, also threatened with second-half free-kick.

Lautaro Martinez 6: On another day, could have been celebrating several goals. Is such a live-wire.

SUBSTITUTES

Marcos Acuna 6: Errant left-footed drive went well wide.

Nicolas Gonzalez 5: Stuttgart forward failed to improve on Ocampos showing.

Guido Rodriguez N/A: Deflected shot floored a Brazil defender.

Lucas Alario N/A: Bayer Leverkusen centre forward was thrown on in the 88th minute, to wind clock down.

Nicolas Dominguez N/A: A second cap for Velez Sarsfield midfielder came in the 90th minute.

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