Sabella wary of risking Messi against Ecuador

The Argentina boss revealed he will discuss with his captain whether or not he will be fit for next Tuesday's crunch World Cup qualifier
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has suggested Lionel Messi will not be fit to play the World Cup qualifier with Ecuador next Tuesday.

The Barcelona forward was called from the bench during the Albicelestes' 0-0 stalemate with Colombia in on Saturday, but admitted to being unsure of his own readiness to participate in their next game having missed the final few games of the domestic season through injury.

"I'll have to discuss it with him [Messi]," Sabella told reporters when asked whether Messi will feature next week. "Playing at that altitude [in Ecuador] will be difficult.

"I have an idea on how to approach the game, but we have to wait and see how the players are [after playing Colombia]."

The Conmebol group leaders lacked their usual attacking firepower against Jose Pekerman's side in a display also marred by Gonzalo Higuain's dismissal, but Sabella still felt their overall performance bodes well for the future.

"We deserved the three points, but only managed one," the 58-year-old continued. "We had more and better chances on the opponents' goal.

"The first half finished evenly, but with their substitution of Jackson Martinez and our introduction of Messi, the proceedings changed.

"[Walter] Montillo had to drop deep in attack while facing [Juan] Zuniga. [Lucas] Biglia played well and assisted [Javier] Mascherano in the centre.

"We played against a solid team in defence who occupied the space well. I am satisfied with the players. The team played as a team, which is what a coach looks for."