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Messi wins duel with Ronaldo
by Paul Kennedy, February 9th, 2011 7:30PM
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TAGS:  argentina, portugal


[ARGENTINA-BRAZIL] Lionel Messi won his showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo, their first at the international level, as he scored the winning goal on a penalty kick in the 90th minute and set up Argentina's first goal in its 2-1 win over Portugal on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland. Ronaldo had the lone goal for the Portuguese.

The first meeting between Argentina and Portugal since 1972 looked to be headed toward a tie when Fabio Coentrao fouled Javier Pastore in the box and Messi converted from the penalty spot.

Messi had an assist on Angel Di Maria's opening goal in the 14th minute.

Messi looked far more comfortable in the middle of the Argentina attack under new coach Sergio Batista than he did at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where Diego Maradona used Messi in a more withdrawn role and the Barcelona star went without a goal in five games.

"I’ve played in the same position for Barcelona, and I’ve been very comfortable because I get more of the ball," said Messi, who has scored 40 goals in 33 games for Barcelona this season.

The Geneva crowd, dominated by Portuguese immigrants, backed Ronaldo, who scored the equalizer in the 21st minute.

"We always enjoy seeing two great players on the same field," added Batista. "I liked both of them tonight. Lionel was at a higher level."

  1. Mario Guerra
    commented on: February 9, 2011 at 8:44 p.m.
    The fact is that Portugal was dominating the game before Ronaldo was substituted at the 60 minute mark. Ronaldo provided Hugo Almeida with two sitters which he failed to convert. While on the pitch Ronaldo was at the higher level. LOL of course when you leave the pitch to sit on the bench your level diminishes.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
    Messi carried the day, viva Argentina!
  1. Chris Hefner
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.
    Did I watch a different match than everyone else. Let's be fair and call the article what it is...Argentina won against Portugal, true. But Messi beats Ronaldo??? First of all Ronaldo scored a beautiful goal from a header. Then he was taken out in the 60th minute. The Argentina coach left Messi in the entire match because he hadn't been able to put the ball in the back of the net. Messi only managed to score a "gimme" PK in the last few seconds. Suddenly he "wins the duel" against a player who wasn't even on the pitch! It's interesting that the same people who say Ronaldo should not be compared to Messi because he a large percentage of the goals scored are from free/penalty kicks while Messi scores "real" goals are the very same people who insist Messi outplayed Ronaldo.
  1. Kevin Johnson
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 4:09 p.m.
    Sure wish I could watch the game. It was not broadcast in Hawaii, but maybe someone can direct me to a web site where I can view it after the fact.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
    Eh Kaulana, maybe da buggah stay available on ESPN3? Aloha . . . Kawika :)
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.
    This duel between Messi and Ronaldo is a talking point and nothing else. Both demonstrated their top level skills in the match which makes them such unique players. Spectators should enjoy each of them for what they are...IMHO, the media hype and blogger arguments are meaningless.
  1. Winston Stewart
    commented on: February 10, 2011 at 9:24 p.m.
    A duel is a contest between two people, so unless the other 20 players were spectators there really was no duel. Sometimes freedom of expression is taken down to the sublimation stage by some pretending to be journalists. I suppose hype gets more attention than facts.
  1. Antonio Nascimento
    commented on: February 11, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
    Mama Mia!!! Mr Kennedy do yourself a favor and learn about playing soccer, and then make your stories accordingly. "A duel between Messi and Ronaldo?" Are you kidding? What I saw was a great game played by two great teams which had great players. I believe C Ronaldo carried the team for the entire 60 minutes, while Messi was looking for open space. Well...players that score goals are always the heroes, and the defense win games.
  1. Antonio Nascimento
    commented on: February 11, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.
    By the way I forgot to mention; if you consider a duel, then the score was Ronaldo 1 and Messi 1 / between teams Argentina 2 Portugal 1

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