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WC Qualification South America
12 October 2011
• Estadio Olímpico General José Antonio Anzoátegui, Puerto la Cruz
Referee: Roberto Silvera
• Attendance: 37000
F. Amorebieta 61'
Not much more I can say, I'm delighted to be able to share a moment of footballing history with those brave enough to stay up until the wee hours for this game. Thanks for reading, I'm out
Well, who'd have thought that? Congratulations are in order to Cesar Farias and the entire Venezuelan team, who have turned them from whipping boys to contenders in little less than three years. Argentina meanwhile must reflect on a game in which they were, no more no less, dominated
Uncontrolled joy, fireworks are going off, every single member of the Vinotinto team are embraced in the middle. Some players close to tears, a magical day for a team that is no longer the Cinderella of South America
90' + 3'
FULL TIME!!!!! VENEZUELA HAVE DEFEATED ARGENTINA 1-0!!!!!!!
90' + 3'
Magical, tense, emotional scenes here in Puerto La Cruz, this stadium is going to explode at the final whistle
90' + 2'
Straight into the wall from Alvarez, but that's more minutes gone
90' + 1'
Awful challenge by Banega on Arango, and a dangerous free kick right at the death
Just injury time remaining here, three minutes added on and still little sign of an equaliser
The noise now is deafening in the stadium, the Vinotinto crowd sense they are on the verge of something very special
Cesar Farias is a whirling dervish on the touchline, always moving, always screaming and encouraging
Desperate, desperate from Mascherano who releases a speculative shot from 35m out, well over the bar.
The resulting corner headed over by Arango, and time is running out for the favourites
Ángel Di María
ALMOST GAME OVER!!!! Feltscher releases a devilish strike from distance, which Andujar has to tip over
Just minutes to go here, and against a team seemingly willing to give their lives for victory Argentina need something extremely special
HIGUAIIIIIIN! Pipita finds some space at the far post, but is thwarted by Lucena who flung himself kamikaze style to block the shot. Took the air out of him, but worth it
Messi tries to swing a dead-ball in, but the head of fellow free kick master Arango diverts it for a corner
With three up front now, Argentina are finally taking the game to a Venezuela team content to sit back a bit more. Could be too little too late though, there is still no beating Vizcarrondo and Vega
Corner here for Argentina, a rare attacking spell. But Vega, again, is peerless in claiming the ball
Rondon squares up directly to Demichelis with the ball at feet, but his Malaga team mate withstands and just manages to slip the ball away to Andujar
Let me just remind you, the way things are going this will be the first time IN HISTORY Venezuela have beaten or drawn against Argentina
Vega will take those all day. Another aimless cross, this time from Di Maria, is caught by the keeper
UUUY SALOMON!!!!! True magic from the striker, he dances through the defence and faces Andujar, but cannot get the shot away. Three men left in his wake there
A promising attack for Argentina stopped dead by a pitiful touch on the left from Rojo, and it's a goal kick. Sabella is furious
Huge, just huge tackling there to stop Sosa in his tracks. The Venezuelans are playing their hearts out
Absolutely no less than Venezuela deserved, they have dominated the last half hour. Now we will see if Argentina can pick themselves up...
Venezuelan/ Spanish/ Basque defender Fernando Amorebieta is delighted, he headed in right from the floor after a corner kick from the right
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!! DE VENEZUELA!!!!!
ANDUUUUUUJAR!!!! Another great save, again from the exocet left boot of Arango
Yellow Card M. Rojo
Another needless loss of possession, this time by Rojo, who compounds his error by giving away a dangerous free-kick
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
No doubt in the slightest who is on top here, Argentina are barely being allowed to cross the halfway line
And Arango is the next to try his luck, but his shot meets an identical fate
Cichero tries a very ambitious shot from a long way out, but the ball balloons over the bar
Almost a disaster for Argentina there! Otamendi gives away an awful ball and Venezuela counter, but Rondon cannot get the shot away
Di Maria shows off a silky nutmeg on the way to goal, but Rojo's return pass is heavy and runs for a goal kick
Another top drawer save from Andujar to deny Arango, how long can the Catania man keep out the wave of burgundy shirts?
Nasty tackle from Zabaleta, and Gonzalez will swing the free kick in from the right
Eight men back for Argentina as the home side push, a measure of how rattled they are right now
Cichero takes a heavy but fair challenge from Zabaleta, and he looks in some pain
Messi and Di Maria kick us off here, 0-0 still
Almost ready to go here, can Argentina rediscover the Verve of the first 30 minutes or will it be a Bittersweet Symphony in Puerto La Cruz? Sorry...
It was a nervous start from Venezuela, but they lifted themselves in the last 15 minutes and had Argentina very nervous indeed. The key is high-intensity, but can they keep up the tempo in suffocating humidity
45' + 1'
And that's half time, Venezuela 0-0 Argentina and Cesar Farias' gutsy team deserve to go in on level-pegging
A very encouraging end to the half here for Venezuela, so close to opening the scoring
ANDUUUUUUJAR!!!!! A stunning save to keep out Arango's wickedly swerving free-kick, and he is up again to claim a rebound that is pinging around the box
These last few minutes have been all Vinotinto, pressure is making normally flawless passers like Mascherano give the ball up. Interesting free-kick here after a gifted ball...
OLE! OLE! Shout the home crowd, delighted at a spell of dominant possession for the hosts
A long cross from Zabaleta was looking for Sosa and Higuain, but who gets there first? You guessed it... Vega snaffles with glee
Real danger there. Fedor gets the best of Otamendi and crosses from the right, and Burdisso clears desperately behind under the gaze of Rondon
A wild clearance from Demichelis and an Otamendi slip almost lets Nicolas Fedor in, but the Porto youngster recovers well to clear
Vizcarrondo is of course no novice to Argentine football: he plays in Bahia Blanca with Olimpo. River's Cesar Gonzalez is another Argentina-based player in the Venezuela ranks
Oswaldo Vizcarrondo is another titan, and he breaks up yet another Albiceleste advance by blocking a probing Messi ball on the edge of the area
A brilliant tackle from right back Rosales stops Messi in full flight, and slows Argentina down in what is turning into a frenetic match
A lot of people on our preview were predicting a walkover for Argentina here, but that's a great disservice to the Vinotinto. They want victory, and are more than capable of taking at least a point
A rapid counter from Venezuela catches Andujar in two minds, and the keeper decides to head the ball behind in spectacular fashion. Corner comes to nothing
UUUYYYY!!!! Salomon Rondon is left all alone in the area while the Argentine defence shrugs its shoulders, but heads over the bar
Even a draw today would be a historical day in Venezuela. The Vinotinto have lost every single game they have played against Argentina, all 19 outings
GRANDE VEGA!!! Wonderful control from Messi allows him to release another shot, but Renny is again more than equal
UUUUUUUU!!!! Another well-armed attack this time between Higuain and Zabaleta sent the ball spiralling into the box, but Messi could not reach it
A quick round-up of today's other WCQs. Colombia took down Bolivia 2-1 in La Paz, Paraguay scored in the last minute to draw 1-1 at home with Uruguay, and Chile won the Pacific Derby 4-2 over Peru
The capacity crowd here is making a real racket, they're 110% behind the home team
They'll have to get past Vega though. The Vinotinto gloveman is a beast, and takes a Messi cross like candy from a baby to break up another attack
All Argentina in these opening minutes, they're taking the game to their opponents and creating early chances
Pipita!!!! Lovely combination between Rojo, Sosa and Higuain sets the Madrid man up, but again Vega is equal to it
UFFFF!!! With the home fans indignant for an unseen foul, Messi lets rip from distance but straight at Vega. Lovely jinking tun beforehand
It's too long though, and Vega covers at the far post
Here's a bit of danger, Messi is chopped down 35m out and will swing the free kick in
I was talking to a Venezuelan journalist earlier today, and he was convinced that the key to stopping Argentina was closing down early, especially on Messi. A draw, according to Sr. Leon Aguirre, was well within reach
Great play by Amorebieta, who comes off best in a 50-50 challenge with Mascherano. The Barca man looks rather troubled, limping back to trotting speed
Venezuela go straight on the attack, and it's an early corner from Arango. Causes a few problems, but Otamendi scrambles
And we are off. Venezuela get us started on a balmy evening in the Caribbean, can Argentina take another three points against the Vinotinto?
Argentina (3-5-2): Andujar; Burdisso, Demichelis, Otamendi; Zabaleta, Sosa, Mascherano, Di Maria, Rojo; Messi, Higuain
Venezuela (4-4-2): Vega; Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Amorebieta, Cichero; Lucena, Rincon, Arango, Gonzalez; Rondon, Fedor
The teams are already on the pitch, as good a time as any to find out who they are
You can follow the action with me, Daniel Edwards, and if it takes your fancy even write to me via @DanEdwardsGoal on twitter
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the picturesque beachside city of Puerto La Cruz for Venezuela's test against Argentina. You can follow all the action from this World Cup qualifying clash with me, and it promises to be a cracker
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