[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new coach Sergio Batista than he did at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where Diego Maradona used Messi in a more withdrawn role and the Barcelona star went without a goal in five games.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."