Fernando Amorebieta's goal and a compact and stout defence earned the hosts' first points in World Cup qualifying with a shock victory over Lionel Messi and companyVenezuela collected their maiden win against Argentina on Tuesday evening.
A stalwart defensive display frustrated the visitors and enabled the hosts to control the game in the second half, in which Fernando Amorebieta’s goal provided the difference in a 1-0 victory in the second game of the Conmebol 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Venezuela began by holding two disciplined lines of four which Argentina found difficult to break through. La Albiceleste were still the first to test the opposition’s keeper though, with Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, and Pablo Zabaleta all getting off shots on target in the first 10 minutes but Renny Vega comfortably saved.
With the hosts looking to counter, Argentina held a lot of possession and began to play some slick passing football. Messi got another shot on goal after 18 minutes which was too hot for Vega to handle, though the keeper sent it behind for a corner.
Venezuela’s best chance off the first half fell to Malaga hit-man Salomon Rondon. The forward sank away from the defenders in the box but put his header over the bar, failing to work Mariano Andujar.
The visitors grew frustrated as the first half wore on and Venezuela began to commit more men to the attack. With minutes to go before the break Juan Arango struck a long distance free kick at goal, forcing an unorthodox save from Andujar as he scrambled across the goal.
With the crowd behind them, La Vinotinto responded. Venezuela came out for the second half looking to attack and they pressured Argentina high up the pitch, forcing mistakes and creating numerous chances. Arango forced a couple of saves from Andujar early in the second half and one, from a free kick, led to the corner that resulted in a goal.
Arango’s whipped left-foot delivery was met by the head of Athletic Bilbao centre-back Amorebieta. He got in front of his marker and glanced the ball into the corner to give his team a deserved lead on his competitive debut.
Frank Feltscher worked his way in from the left with 10 minutes remaining and fired a shot on goal. The effort had Andujar stretching but it flew over the bar.
Argentina never really tested Vega in the second half and will be extremely disappointed with their display after such a convincing win against Chile at the weekend. Venezuela added to their stock as dark horses for qualification with an effective, disciplined display earning a victory that will live long in the memory.