International round-up: Messi's winner overshadows Ronaldo
Thursday 10 February 2011
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored in the duel between the two most recent World Players of the Year last night, but it was the Barcelona striker who had the last laugh when his 89th-minute penalty gave Argentina a 2-1 win over Portugal in Geneva.
Angel di Maria had put the South Americans ahead after 14 minutes from a Messi assist but his Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo levelled matters six minutes later from near range.
Both sides came close in the second half, with Portugal's Hugo Almeida wasting three fine chances and Marcos Rojo and Javier Pastore just missing for Argentina, before Messi scored from the spot after Fabio Coentrao fouled Juan Manuel Martinez.
On a good night for Real players, Karim Benzema scored France's winner in a 1-0 victory over 10-man Brazil in Paris. The visitors' midfielder Hernanes was sent off for a late tackle on Benzema in the 40th minute and the striker was left unmarked in the penalty area to fire home from Jérémy Menez's cross nine minutes after half-time.
Cesare Prandelli's new-look Italy side scrapped a 1-1 draw in Germany after being largely outplayed. Veteran striker Miroslav Klose put the home side ahead in the 16th minute when Mesut Ozil found Thomas Müller in the box with a back-heel and he cut the ball unselfishly into the middle for his Bayern Munich team-mate to score. Italy came back after the break and Giuseppe Rossi equalised with nine minutes to go.
World Cup finalists the Netherlands eased to a 3-1 win over Austria in Eindhoven, Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt scoring from the penalty spot, and Dick Advocaat's Russia surprisingly lost 1-0 to Iran in the United Arab Emirates. Spain beat Columbia 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Manchester City's David Silva.
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