By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Two goals from Diego Tardelli helped Brazil to a 2-0 win over Argentina in the SuperClássico yesterday (October 11th) in Beijing, China. Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson also put in a stunning display, saving a penalty from Lionel Messi as the Seleção kept a third successive clean sheet, and won a third straight match, under new boss Dunga.
The match had been billed as a grand clash between Barcelona superstars Messi and Neymar, but it was Atlético-MG forward Tardelli who ended up stealing the show. Argentina were the better side in the first half but failed to find a way past the impenetrable Jefferson, and the two Brasileirão started shining brighter in the Beijing smog.
The opening twenty minutes was a lesson in ball retention from the Argentinians. The slick passing and movement made it look as if the Brazilian defense would be in for a long afternoon, particularly Danilo, up against Angel di Maria.
The profligacy of Sergio Aguero was another factor in the score remaining goalless. On 31 minutes, Tardelli showed him how it was done, with an intuitive volley that caught Argentine stopper Sergio Romero unawares and gave Brazil the lead.
Argentina were awarded a penalty soon afterwards, apparently for a push from Danilo on di Maria, but referee Fan Qi was one of the few who saw it. No matter; Jefferson dropped quickly to his right to block Messi’s tame effort.
From then on in, Neymar was streets ahead of his Barça teammate. He went close on two occasions, threatened, ran, fought and scrapped. Then Dunga’s floating front four began to pay dividends.
On the hour mark, Tardelli nodded his and Brazil’s second to put day light between the sides after Argentina made a woeful attempt at clearing a corner. The Atlético front man gave way to Kaka towards the end and received a deserved round of applause.
Dunga, with the senior side, remains undefeated against Brazil’s biggest rivals, winning four and drawing one. There is light at the end of the tunnel as the Seleção now turn their attention to a meeting with Japan on Tuesday. It is doubtful any kind of victory will taste sweeter than this one.