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Nov 15, 2012

Messi upset by Saudi draw

Argentina captain Lionel Messi said he was not happy with his team's performance in Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia, during which they had "gifted" their opponents a result and ended the year on a sour note.

Alejandro Sabella's new-look Albiceleste, who currently top the South American World Cup 2014 qualifying group and defeated local rivals Brazil and Germany in friendly games, have generally enjoyed a positive year.

The Barcelona attacker told reporters at the King Fahd stadium in Riyadh after the game that he was not at all happy with his side's performances on their last showing of the year.

"We gifted them the game," Messi said. "It is a pity to end the year like this, after all we have been doing. We did not do the things we had to do, from the beginning of the game. Although we played better afterwards, we did not manage a win."

The Saudis, coached by Messi's former club boss Frank Rijkaard, held out for an impressive result against an Argentine attack also featuring Real Madrid's Angel di Maria, Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Wigan's Franco Di Santo, who won his first cap as a second-half substitute.

After missing a chance to break Gabriel Batistuta's Argentina 1998 record of 12 goals in a calendar year, which he had equalled, Messi said he and his team-mates were returning to their clubs in a bad mood.

"This cannot happen again," he said. "We are leaving in a bad mood because with our national team we must win, and we did not do that. All the games are important, even friendlies. It has been a very good year, but I am angry with what happened today."

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