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Argentina and Brazil drew 1-1 in Friday night’s 2018 World Cup qualifier, which kicked off 24 hours later than scheduled after originally being suspended due to a waterlogged pitch. Javier Mascherano played all ninety minutes in the centre of Tata Martino’s midfield, while Barça's Brazilian duo of Neymar Jr and Dani Alves also played the full match at the Monumental in Buenos Aires.
Despite missing star player Leo Messi through injury, 2014 finalists Argentina were by far the more attack-minded side in the first half, and thoroughly deserved their 1-0 lead when PSG striker Ezequiel Lavezzi converted a Higuain assist after 34 minutes.
The second half followed a similar script, but after 58 minutes Brazil drew level. Dani Alves floated in a cross that substitute Douglas Costa headed onto the crossbar, but Lucas Lima was well-placed to meet the rebound and slam the ball home.
The goal suddenly brought Brazil back to life, and Neymar, who had had a quiet game up to that point, almost added to Argentina’s misery late in the game. Brazil had David Luiz sent off for two yellow card offences in the space of two minutes, but even so there was no way back for Argentina, and with just two points from their first three games they are now second to last in the ten-team CONMEBOL qualifying group.
Argentina now face a difficult trip to Colombia on November 17. Meanwhile, Brazil, who now have four points in their own account, will next play at home to Peru, who beat Paraguay 1-0 in Friday’s other South American qualifier.
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