Argentina beat Brazil in fiery MCG matchup

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Brazil and Argentina played out a hard-fought match at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Lionel Messi's side coming out on top 1-0 winners courtesy of a first-half Gabriel Mercado goal.

Jorge Sampaoli fielded an XI with an attacking mindset for his first game as Argentina boss, with Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria all selected but it took them right up until the end of the first half to eventually find the breakthrough courtesy of defender, Mercado.

The Selecao were left to rue consecutive misses from Gabriel Jesus and Phillipe Coutinho in the second period, giving boss Tite his first defeat since taking over the side from Dunga in June 2016.

The first chance of the match came after Paulo Dybala played Angel Di Maria down the lift wing with a superbly placed pass between two Brazilian defenders, with the Paris Saint Germain playmaker's shot rebounding off the near post in the sixth minute.

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Both sides had their chances, with Renato Augusto firing over the bar and Nicolas Otamendi producing a goal-saving sliding tackle to stop Phillipe Coutinho from getting a shot on goal.

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It took right up until the 45th minute for defender Gabriel Mercado to break the deadlock as he pounced on a loose ball that bounced off the post from an Otamendi shot, easing it into an open net after Brazil keeper Weverten dived to save the initial attempt.

Brazil should have equalised in the 64th minute when Gabriel Jesus scuffed an open shot on goal, with his shot rebounding off the post with Brazilian hearts broken again when Willian hit the post on the rebound.

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Brazil bought on Douglas Costa shortly after to try to find a break through, continuing to probe the Argentine defence but failed to find a breakthrough.

Australia take on the Brazilians on June 13 in another friendly, while Argentina meet Singapore before they attempt to revive their World Cup qualifying campaign against Uruguay later on in August.

Source SBS, Omnisport