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Messi misses penalty as Brazil beat Argentina

Beijing - Lionel Messi missed a first-half
penalty as Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in a
fiercely contested "Superclasico" friendly in
Beijing on Saturday.
Journeyman Diego Tardelli was the unlikely
hero with his first two goals for Brazil as Messi
fluffed his lines with a tame spot-kick at the
Bird's Nest stadium.
Atletico Mineiro striker Tardelli, 29, put Brazil
ahead on 28 minutes, before Messi curled his
soft penalty attempt close to goalkeeper
Jefferson just before half-time.
And Tardelli was on target again midway
through the second half as Brazil restored pride
after the World Cup, when the hosts were
hammered in the semis while Argentina reached
the final.
Argentina were on top early in the match and
Sergio Aguero fired an inviting early chance over
the bar before Angel Di Maria threatened with a
drive from distance.
But it was Tardelli who broke the deadlock
when he pounced on a loose ball and volleyed
past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero on 28
minutes.
Brazil superstar Neymar should have made it
2-0 shortly afterwards but after wriggling his
way free on goal, he made a hash of his shot
and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.
The game had come alive and Argentina got a
golden chance to equalise when Danilo was
judged to have fouled Di Maria in the box,
prompting angry Brazilian players to surround
Chinese referee Fan Qi.
Messi looked certain to bury the spot-kick but
the four-time world player of the year shot too
close to Brazilian 'keeper Jefferson, who dived
to his right for a simple stop.
It was the Barcelona icon's second penalty
miss in two weeks after he also missed one for
his club last month against Levante.
Filipe Luis and Di Maria had chances at either
end as the second half started energetically,
and Oscar went close with a free kick after
Martin Demichelis chopped down Neymar.
But again Tardelli was in the right place at the
right time as he nodded in Oscar's cross at the
back post to give Brazil breathing space on 64
minutes.
Tardelli was eventually replaced by Kaka, who
drew a huge roar when he came on in the final
minutes to end a prolonged spell in the
international wilderness.
And there was time for Neymar to twice go
close before Brazil were able to celebrate their
win in the 2008 Olympic stadium.
Fears over Beijing's choking smog had
dominated the build-up but in a relief to players
and organisers, air quality and visibility lifted on
a breezy day in the Chinese capital.
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