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Portugal Snatch The Win As Ronaldo And Messi Goes Head To Head



‘C. Ronaldo v Messi’ got top billing at a packed Old Trafford but it was a lesser light who scored as Portugal scraped a 1-0 friendly win over Argentina on Tuesday.
Raphael Guerreiro headed the winner in added time after a second half riddled with substitutions and missing the excitement factor provided by the game’s two biggest players who did not reappear after halftime.
With Messi and Ronaldo on the field, Argentina showed what coach Gerardo Martino is looking for from his team, a quick-passing possession game with fast thrusts forward.
They dominated the opening half-hour in which they could have scored at least twice, the first chance a shot from Angel Di Maria, playing at the home of his club Manchester United, that skimmed the outside of the post after he was set up by Messi.
Argentina’s closest effort was in the 11th minute when Messi beat the offside trap to reach a through ball on the right and came in at a tight angle, his low shot from the edge of the six-yard box beating Beto but glancing off the post and back into play.
As the half-hour approached, Messi crossed, Javier Pastore headed and Beto dived to save before Ronaldo raised the decibels in the stadium when he backheeled a neat pass to Bosingwa then raced into the box to take the right back’s cross but his shot after two dummies went over the bar.
It was the signal for Portugal to come out of their shell for the last 15 minutes of the half and put the Argentine defence under pressure but Martino’s side managed to play their way out of trouble.
After a lukewarm start to the second half, Di Maria had a shot from outside the box saved by Betobefore Carlos Tevez came on for Gonzalo Higuain to boos from fans of his former team Manchester United but he did not make an impact.
The game failed to pick up its first half rhythm and quality, despite an end-to-end flow, thanks to the high number of substitutions as every player in the two squads appeared to be getting a chance to play.
Portugal looked like they wanted it more towards the end and a lucky bounce set up Ricardo Quaresma to cross from the right and give substitute Raphael Guerreiro a free header for the only The billing at goal.
On the other game played last night
Toni Kroos struck with a fierce long-range shot a minute from time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Spain in a friendly between two injury-depleted European heavyweights in Vigo on Tuesday.
Kroos’s effort settled a match played in lashing rain that was short on chances although goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who came off the bench to make his Spain debut, will be furious he let the ball past him after getting into position to palm it away.
Germany forward Mario Goetze, who scored the winner against Argentina in July’s World Cup final, had gone closest on a foul night in Galicia but Iker Casillas brilliantly saved his 20th-minute effort.
Beating the 2010 World Cup winners and 2012 European champions was a fitting way forGermany to end a stellar year during which they claimed their fourth World Cup crown.
Spain, who beat Germany 1-0 in the semifinals four years ago the last time they met, will now have to pick themselves up and continue rebuilding after their failed title defence in Brazil.
“We know that we are in a period of transition and we are optimistic about the future,” Spaincoach Vicente del Bosque told a news conference.
“The match was very even,” he added. “Either team could have won and it was only the Kroos goal that decided it.”
Del Bosque started with debutant Nolito, who plays for local side Celta Vigo, and Alvaro Morataup front, with playmaker Isco in the creative role just behind.
Del Bosque’s Germany counterpart Joachim Loew deployed Thomas Mueller, Goetze and Kevin Volland in his forward line, while Sami Khedira and Kroos, who both play for Real Madrid, featured in midfield.
Nolito tested Germany keeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the 12th minute and, after Casillas had denied Goetze, Isco fired high and wide when well placed on the edge of the area.
Del Bosque made a host of changes in the second half and Nolito went close with a 59th-minute free kick before Kroos secured Germany’s first win against Spain since they won 4-1 in a friendly in Hanover in August 2000.
“We wanted this success in our final game of the year,” Kroos told reporters.
“We were very solid in defence and didn’t let much through,” he added. “It was a great year and a good finish.”

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