Miranda headed home a dramatic late winner as Brazil beat Argentina 1-0 at the King Abdullah Sports City on Tuesday evening.
Sapping heat in Saudi Arabia led to a largely drab affair that was decided only when poor marking enabled the veteran Inter centre-back to head home in the 93rd minute.
Until then, Nicolas Otamendi’s last-ditch denial of Miranda in the first half had been the closest Lionel Scaloni’s men came to conceding for the first time since the World Cup.
Tite’s side, unconvincing 2-0 winners over Saudi Arabia on Friday, were otherwise ineffective in attack as they struggled to create any notable chances despite the significant time they spent on the ball.
Brazil’s dominance of possession in the first half did not keep Giovani Lo Celso and Paulo Dybala from threatening with efforts that both flashed past Alisson’s left post.
Miranda went closer to breaking the deadlock between those chances when Casemiro’s cross dropped kindly at the far post, but Otamendi was perfectly positioned to head the defender’s close-range finish off the line.
Alisson dealt comfortably with a Lo Celso header soon after the interval and was spared another save courtesy of Danilo’s block on Mauro Icardi, although the incident did leave the Brazil right-back limping to the bench.
Neymar finally found room to stretch his legs in the 69th minute only to be cut down by Renzo Saravia, with Sergio Romero required to beat away Arthur’s volley from the resultant free-kick.
But there was only so much Romero could do about the eventual winner, the Manchester United goalkeeper left exposed by his defence as an unmarked Miranda rose to settle the contest.
What it means: Encouragement for Scaloni
Despite the defeat a lack of fluidity, Argentina’s work ethic, general defensive organisation and ability to threaten on the break suggests Scaloni is having a positive influence in his capacity as interim coach.
Miranda the match-winner
Brazil’s listlessness going forward meant a different source was going to have to provide the goal and Miranda did just that, improving on his near-miss in the first half with a decisive late intervention.
Attacking tinkering required
Tite’s move to unite Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus in a front three promised plenty on paper, but in execution the trio lacked any kind of coherence. The Brazil boss is still searching for his best combination.
Brazil are back in action at home to fellow South American side Uruguay in November, while Argentina entertain Mexico in a pair of friendlies.
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