Lionel Messi scores on Argentina return to sink Brazil in Saudi Arabia

: Lionel Messi struck on his return to international duty Friday following a three-month ban as Argentina defeated fierce rivals Brazil 1-0 in a friendly in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2019

Lionel Messi scores on Argentina return to sink Brazil in Saudi Arabia

  • The meeting between the two South American giants was the second in Saudi Arabia
  • Messi, who scored with a pair of free-kicks in his last game with Barcelona, twice threatened from set pieces

RIYADH: Lionel Messi struck on his return to international duty Friday following a three-month ban as Argentina defeated fierce rivals Brazil 1-0 in a friendly in Riyadh.
The Barcelona forward was suspended by CONMEBOL for accusing South American football’s ruling body of “corruption” after he was sent off in July’s third-place play-off with Chile at the Copa America.
Messi netted the only goal of the game at the King Saud University Stadium on 13 minutes, tapping home the rebound after his penalty was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson.

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PHOTOS: Lionel Messi scores as Argentina beat Brazil in Riyadh

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His effort came shortly after Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus rolled a spot-kick wide for Brazil, who were playing without the injured Neymar.
Messi, who scored with a pair of free-kicks in his last game with Barcelona, twice threatened from set pieces in the second half before Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson beat away a powerful drive from Paredes.
Rodrygo, the 18-year-old who scored a sensational Champions League hat-trick with Real Madrid this month, made his Brazil debut as he replaced Willian for the final 20 minutes.
However, Brazil were unable to find an equalizer as their winless run since capturing the Copa America title extended to five matches.
The meeting between the two South American giants was the second in Saudi Arabia in little over a year. Brazil beat Argentina 1-0 in Jeddah in October 2018.
Brazil also defeated Argentina 2-0 at home in the semifinals of this year’s Copa America, a controversial match that left Messi complaining the hosts had benefited from favoritism.
Brazil will play a friendly against South Korea in Abu Dhabi on November 19, in their final game before South American qualifying starts for the 2022 World Cup in March.


Pakistan’s Jamshed pleads guilty in UK bribery case

Updated 10 December 2019

Pakistan’s Jamshed pleads guilty in UK bribery case

  • 33-year-old former batsman is accused of conspiring to bribe PSL players to perform poorly
  • An undercover cop unearthed evidence by pretending to be a member of a corrupt betting syndicate

London: Former Pakistan batsman Nasir Jamshed pleaded guilty on Monday to a conspiracy to bribe fellow cricketers as part of a Twenty20 spot-fixing coup.
Jamshed, 33, had originally denied being involved in a plan focused on the Pakistan Super League but changed his plea during a court hearing in Manchester.
Two other men, Yousef Anwar, 36, and Mohammed Ijaz, 34, admitted last week to offering financial advantages to PSL players with the intention of inducing them to perform improperly by failing to play competitively in good faith.
All three will be sentenced on a date to be fixed in February.
Prosecutors told the court an undercover police officer had unearthed evidence by pretending to be a member of a corrupt betting syndicate.
The policeman’s efforts then led to the discovery of an attempted fix in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) late in 2016 and an actual fix in the PSL in February 2017.
In both cases, an opening batsman in the Twenty20 tournaments had agreed to not score runs from the first two balls of an over in return for payment.
Jamshed was said to be the target of bribery in Bangladesh before turning perpetrator as a go-between urging other players to spot-fix in a PSL match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on February 9.
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said later on Monday Anwar and Ijaz had developed a system by which they would charge £30,000 per fix ($39,450) per fix with half of the sum going to the player.
Ian McConnell, the NCA’s Senior Investigating Officer, said: “These men abused their privileged access to professional, international cricket to corrupt games, eroding public confidence for their own financial gain.
“Tackling corruption and bribery in its various forms is a priority for the National Crime Agency.
“We will vigorously pursue those involved and target their illicit profits which are so often used to fund further criminality.”
Spot-fixing involves rigging a specific aspect of a game on which bookmakers have offered odds, unlike match-fixing, where the whole result is fixed.
Jamshed has played Test, one-day and Twenty20 international cricket for Pakistan.