Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni tasted defeat for the first time as Miranda headed a stoppage time winner to hand Brazil a 1-0 win in Saudi Arabia.
A pretty dull affair at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium between the two South American giants was settled in the dying stages as Miranda rose unmarked to head past Sergio Romero from only a few yards out after a game of few clear chances.
Lionel Scaloni will certainly be pleased by how his side defended with Renzo Saravia impressing at right-back and Nicolás Otamendi returning to form a promising central defensive pairing with Germán Pezzella but for all the positives of such a disciplined display there was clearly much to work on as an attacking unit.
Giovani Lo Celso fired a low shot narrowly wide early on but aside from a Paulo Dybala free kick that whistled wide of Alisson’s post, Argentina offered very little threat. Brazil were equally well shackled for the most part and aside from Otamendi clearing a Miranda volley off the line, neither side did enough to warrant a first half lead.
Dybala, disappointingly quiet once more on what was supposed to be his time to shine, failed to make an impact and his lack of involvement led to the isolation of Mauro Icardi in attack.
In the second half when the Argentina number nine did get two sniffs at goal there was an uncharacteristic hesitancy and both half chances were eventually lost.
As time ticked on towards penalties, Brazil began to take control and after Arthur had tested Romero with a well struck volley and Casamiro’s deflected free-kick had ended inches wide, Tite’s side found a winner.
The shootout was only a minute or two away as Neymar swung over a corner deep in stoppage time and with Argentina napping Miranda found a pocket of space in front of a somewhat static Romero and headed a dramatic winner.
There were positives to take for Scaloni against a settled Brazil, that will be heavy favourites for next year’s Copa América, ahead of another friendly double-header next month but equally a number of questions still to answer.