The first half of today's friendly between Brazil and Argentina was entertaining. The second half was amazing. Brazil answered back with two goals to retake the lead, but Argentina fought back with goals from Federico Fernandez and the hat trick clincher from Lionel Messi to win 4-3.
Everything was happening so fast, it was difficult to document every great chance we saw but trust me when I say it was some entertaining soccer. Hulk smashed his way through the Argentine defense but his tough angled shot was parried away by Sergio Romero. Gonzalo Higuain got past the last Brazilian defender but his shot from the right side went wide of the far post. It was wonderful stuff.
After 10 frantic minutes to open the half, it was Brazil who found the equalizer in the 56th minute. Oscar passed the ball in to the box to Leandro Damiao who immediately returned the ball to him with a great one touch pass as he charged in toward goal. Oscar was alone against Sergio Romero and beat the keeper with low shot to pull the match back to 2-2.
Brazil took the lead back in the 72nd minute. Neymar's corner was tipped by Romero, allowing it to fall down to Hulk who didn't wait for the ball to hit the ground, striking it out of the air and burying his shot to put Brazil up 3-2. You might say Hulk smashed it.
After spending all week saying over and over again that Sergio Aguero would not play in the match, Alejandro Sabella had the Manchester City star was up off the bench and in to the match. It worked quickly, even if Aguero wasn't directly involved.
Argentina earned a corner in the 75th minute, which was sent in to the mixer by Javier Mascherano. As the defense ball watched, young defender Federico Fernandez rose up and powered a header past Barbosa to even the match up at three goals a piece.
Of course you knew it wasn't over yet.
Brazil's defense forgot the first rule of playing Lionel Messi...don't forget to cover Lionel Messi. The man who outperforms all positive adjectives found some open space outside the Brazil box in the 85th minute and dribbled in to the middle of the pitch. As the defense scrambled to cover, Messi unleashed a wicked curling shot that squeezed in to the top corner of the net to complete his hat trick and more importantly, give Argentina back the lead 4-3. The precision was amazing, just the kind of play we've come to expect from Messi. Holy wow.
After 90 minutes of magical football, things ended on an ugly note as some unnecessary handbags saw Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had entered the match only minutes before, and Marcelo both sent off with straight red cards. Marcelo hit Lavezzi in the face as he went to ground and in the ensuing fracas, Lavezzi returned the favor.
The final whistle arrived shortly thereafter ending a spectacularly entertaining 90 minutes of soccer. Eat your hear out Euro 2012.