By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Tuesday, October 16th, Brazil’s men’s national football club (seleção) defeated longtime rivals Argentina in dramatic fashion as Miranda headed home the winning goal in stoppage time to give the seleção the 1-0 win in a match dubbed the Saudi Superclasico in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Both clubs entered last night’s match coming off wins on their tour of the Middle East. Argentina beat Iraq, 4-0, last Thursday, October 11th, and Brazil topped Saudi Arabia 2-0 on Friday, October 12th.
Brazil’s head coach, Tite, fielded his full squad for the much-anticipated game, including Neymar Jr., Gabriel Jesus, and Philipe Coutinho; while Argentina’s headman Lionel Scaloni kept several key players out of the lineup, including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, and Marcos Rojo.
The searing heat at Abdullah Sports City stadium combined with Argentina’s stifling defense to contain the seleção‘s potent offense for most of the game.
At the 28th minute, Miranda had a chance to put Brazil on the scoreboard with a close-range shot, but the defender’s attempt was blocked on the line by Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi.
Brazil’s offensive futility continued late into the second period. With seven minutes left in regulation, it looked as if Casemiro would hit the game winner but his twisting 25-yard free kick curled just wide of the left post.
Finally, in stoppage time, at the 93rd-minute, Neymar lifted a corner that found Miranda who rose past Argentine keeper Romero to head home the game winner.
“Scoring a goal against Argentina is always gratifying and always exciting,” said an elated Miranda after the match.
The win extends Brazil’s win streak to four games since their embarrassing ouster in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals at the hands of Belgium.
The match was also the 104th meeting between Brazil and Argentina, with Brazil having the slight advantage with 41 wins to Argentina’s 38, along with 26 draws.
The seleção‘s next match will be a friendly against Uruguay on November 16th at Emirates Stadium in London.