Lionel Messi led Argentina to a 1-0 win over rivals Brazil on his return to national side at the King Saud University Stadium on Friday evening.
Red-hot Lautaro Martinez led the line for Argentina in Messi’s return, as Gabriel Jesus and Willian partnered Roberto Firmino in the Brazilians front-three setup.
Brazil found a chance to hit the front on nine minutes though Jesus failed to profit from the penalty mark after going down under a challenge in the danger area.
The Albiceleste went and seized full control from their South American neighbours profligacy as Messi applied a stern finish from a rebound after Alisson Becker failed to parry four minutes later.
Brazil battled to get into gear moments afterwards, as the high-pressing provided by the Argentines pegged the five-time World champions into untroubled areas across the pitch.
Loaned out FC Barcelona attacker Phillipe Coutinho entered at the start of the second half, with AC Milan’s Lucas Paqueta sacrificed as Tite went for a different offensive approach.
Coutinho looked to make his presence felt following the 61st minute with a telling ball to Danilo, who failed to take aim with wayward attempt metres from the initial target.
Messi edged closer to a double seven minutes later when his free-kick went over the wall and dipped under the crossbar, requiring Alisson to tip over for a corner kick.
Rodrygo, who became the UEFA Champions League second youngest hat-trick scorer recently, set in for Willian in the final 20 minutes as Tite pushed for a comeback.
Momentum stayed on the side of the Argentines though as Martinez pulled off a crowd of bodies in the area for an effort ten minutes later but the attempt flew over the top instead.
The two-time World champions secured victory after all as the aforementioned chance proved immaterial in the Middle East.