Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Lionel Messi in touchline exchange with Brazil boss Tite: 'He told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth'

Captain Messi scores only goal in Argentina's 1-0 in Riyadh

Lionel Messi and Brazil coach Tite had a touchline spat as the Argentina captain scored the only goal on his return to international action after a three-month ban.

Messi looked to the touchline and put his fingers to his lips before making another hand sign that appeared to tell the Brazil coach he had too much to say for himself during Brazil's 1-0 win in Riyadh.

Tite admitted he had been complaining to the referee during the first half and said the two men exchanged words.

"I complained because Messi should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth," Tite said. "And that was it."

The Brazil coach highlighted Messi’s performance in the well-deserved victory.

The Barcelona forward was one of the outstanding performers for Argentina. The 32-year-old was banned for three months after criticising South American football's governing body during this summer's Copa America, both after a semi-final loss to Brazil and a third-place play-off win over Chile in which he was sent off following an altercation with Gary Medel.

He scored the only goal after 14 minutes – his penalty was saved but he followed up to beat Alisson – and could have had another couple of goals but for some solid defending and the goalkeeper's awareness.

The result was encouraging for Argentina, who have now gone six games without defeat - their longest run since 2016.

"At the beginning we tried to play, we made a few mistakes and they created some chances," Messi said.

"In the second half we improved a lot. I think this system defensively gives us a lot. It's good that we can play in several ways.

"When you win, it puts you more at ease and that is very positive for what lies ahead. I ended the match well, we all ran quite a bit. And that is what we were there to do."

Gabriel Jesus hit a tame effort straight at Esteban Andrada after seven minutes, but moments later earned a penalty when he was fouled by Leandro Paredes in the area.

The Manchester City striker took the spot-kick, only to fire wide from 12 yards.

Two minutes later Argentina were awarded a penalty of their own when Messi was tripped by Alex Sandro.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson saved Messi's spot-kick, but the Barcelona forward was left with a simple task to tap in the rebound.

Messi could have doubled his tally a minute before half-time when he burst clear of the Brazil defence, but Alisson stood firm to save his low effort.

Jesus and Willian both failed to work Andrada as Brazil sought an equaliser after the break, while at the other end Messi's 66th-minute free-kick had to be tipped over by Alisson.

Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Otamendi both wasted late chances to make the game safe for Argentina, whose win represented a first against their arch rivals for more than two years.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni added: "I liked the second half. We made changes because we wanted to prepare for the tests that are coming. The team responded and played really well."

Brazil coach Tite felt the game's deciding spot-kick should not have been awarded.

He said: "I did not see clearly, I know there were comments that it was not a penalty. For me it was not a penalty."

Argentina play Uruguay in a friendly next week while Brazil face South Korea in Abu Dhabi.

Updated: November 16, 2019 09:46 AM

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