Football

‘Brazil versus Argentina is never a friendly’- Tite

Brazil manager Tite has called on his team to provide a much-improved performance in front of Argentina next week after they struggled to a 2-0 victory in their friendly against Saudi Arabia on Friday.

The five-time world champions failed to really shine at Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium, and had to rely on goals from Gabriel Jesus and Alex Sandro to seal the win. Both, assisted by Neymar, came at the end of each half.

The Saudis were reduced to 10 men with six minutes remaining, when goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais was sent off following a video review for handling outside his area. Sandro then doubled his side’s advantage deep into injury time.

Brazil, preparing for next year’s Copa America on home soil, next face South America rivals Argentina in Jeddah on Tuesday.

“We were not convincing,” Tite said. “We won because he had creativity up front and that was it. Brazil versus Argentina is never a friendly. We hope to be better for that.”

Tite experimented somewhat against Saudi Arabia, with Alex Sandro coming in for Marcelo and Bordeaux’s Pablo replacing Thiago Silva. Lucas Moura, the recalled Tottenham Hotspur winger, and Everton’s Richarlison were given second-half runouts.

There are expected to be more changes for Tuesday’s highly-anticipated clash against Argentina, with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino starting up front instead of Jesus.

Tite, who coached previously in the UAE with Al Ain and Al Wahda, added: “I know the Saudi team. I followed them at the World Cup and also in the friendly matches they played before the World Cup, like the match with Italy.

“The Saudi team, the midfielders, and especially Salem Al Dawsari, played a good game. The team showed great confidence in the match and their players did not fear facing us.”

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