Football

Jefferson had Messi figured out

Patience and a bit of homework have enabled Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson to save Argentina ace Lionel Messi's penalty in their friendly clash in Beijing on Saturday.

The Botafogo man saved the Barcelona star's first-half spot-kick at the Bird's Nest Stadium as Diego Tardelli's brace gave the Selecao a 2-0 win over the bitter rivals in their 100th meeting.

"I have studied the way Lionel Messi takes penalties," Jefferson told Globo. "I waited until the very last second to dive, so the penalty-taker has less chance. He took it on his best side, and I was very happy to save it."

It was the 13th penalty Messi has missed in his career and Brazil goalkeeping coach Taffarel revealed Jefferson's decision to stand tall was key to keeping him out.

"We always study penalties before a game. Jefferson's greatest secret is that he stands still until the last minute. He was great and made a great save." - Wire Services.