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Lionel Messi Leads Argentina Past Portugal

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi was the Man of the Match today as Argentina narrowly beat Portugal 2-1. The best player in the world assisted Di Maria for the 1-0 in the first half and then scored the winning goal at the 90th minute from the penalty spot. Captain Mascherano and Gabriel Milito also started the match and helped Argentina beat a revitalized Portugal side, who had in Nani their stand-out player.

New manager Sergio Batista has built his system around Messi and that has been paying dividends, as expected. After scoring against Brazil in November, Messi now had a great match against Portugal and led his team to victory again. He played in the same position he does at Barcelona and the results were fantastic; his assist to Di Maria was quite simply amazing, as the Real Madrid player admitted.

With a new manager and a system in some ways similar to Barcelona's, Lionel Messi seems poised to lead Argentina to the Copa America title in the summer.

This was overall a very successful day for Barcelona players, as Abidal had a solid performance in France's 1-0 win over Brazil and Spain beat Colombia with several Barcelona players. Afellay also had a very good game, helping Holland beat Austria 3-1.

More importantly, no one got injured and Barcelona will face the challenges ahead (Gijon and Arsenal) almost at full strength - only captain Carles Puyol is out and he should be back soon.

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