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Rediff.com  » Sports » Player of the day: Messi and Benzema share Sunday spotlight

Player of the day: Messi and Benzema share Sunday spotlight

June 16, 2014 09:11 IST

Player of the day: Messi and Benzema share Sunday spotlight

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Lionel Messi finally made his mark on the World Cup and lit up the Maracana with his first goal in the finals for eight years but Argentina had to battle hard for a 2-1 win over debutants Bosnia in their opening Group F match on Sunday.

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Earlier on the night, Karim Benzema was named man-of-the-match after leading France to a 3-0 win over Honduras by a brace.

The stadium was turned into little Buenos Aires by tens of thousands of Messi’s countrymen. Messi's roar of delight after a fine left-foot strike from the edge of the area on Sunday suggested the goal would lift a huge weight from his shoulders.

"It was important to start with a win and to get three points, but we need to improve," Messi said after also being named man of the match in the 2-1 victory in Group F.

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Image: Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts after scoring his team's second goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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Player of the day: Messi and Benzema share Sunday spotlight

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In Porto Alegre, France survived a bruising encounter with Honduras, but Benzema came to France’s aid.

Catch the complete coverage of the football World Cup 

He grabbed two and goal-line technology was used to confirm the ball had crossed the line for the first time at a World Cup.

Benzema's shot hit the upright and the ball rolled across the goal, only for Honduras keeper Noel Valladares to divert it over the line by inches.

Benzema later stepped up to convert a spot-kick to register his seventh goal in as many games for France and his first in a World Cup.


Image: Karim Benzema of France celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on Sunday
Photographs: Vinicius Costa/Getty Images

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