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WC Qualification South America
12 June 2013
• Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Quito
Referee: E. Cáceres
• Attendance: 35000
S. Castillo 17'
S. Agüero 4'
Shots on Target
90' + 7'
Yellow Card José María Basanta
90' + 7'
And at last, that's it. The whistle goes. Argentina escape with a point. They're not mathematically there yet, but Argentina are all but qualified. Ecuador will likely follow them to Brazil next year.
90' + 7'
Last chance for Ecuador, who have a free kick some 40 yards out on the right. In it comes... Argentina play a high line looking for offside, Caicedo gets in around the back to volley at goal from a few yards, but Romero tips it over. And he was offside anyway.
90' + 6'
Nope, and still they come. Valencia get to the by line, pulls it back to Ibarra, but his shot is blocked.
90' + 4'
Montero gets down the left again, crosses to the back post only for Rojo to volley behind, sending the ball worryingly close to his own goal. The corner comes in again from Valencia, it's headed over and that should be it.
90' + 3'
It's another corner, Valencia delivers and Saritama gets up but his downward header is deflected up and over the bar.
90' + 2'
Into he second minute of stoppage time here, and Argentina are just trying to hold on.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Yellow Card L. Saritama
90' + 1'
In the meantime, Rodrigo Brana has replaced Palacio as Sabella looks to shut up shop.
Right, back to the football. We're into stoppage time, but they haven't told us how much yet.
Well that was awfully silly.
Juan Luis Anangonó
Ah, Mascherano was on one of those little cars being taken off and after having some water thrown at him took exception to the driving and gave him a couple of kicks in the back. He's off.
My Ecuadorian colleagues were showing us a replay there, so we have no idea what just happened, but it looks like Masch has been sent off.
Red Card Javier Mascherano
It's all kicking off now. Mascherano is furious with someone on the touchline. The Police are involved, as are the stewards. Loads of pointing and shouting and swearing. Lavezzi has to physically drag the captain away.
More panic in the Argentine box as Valencia hammers another low cross against the box. It bounced clear to Castillo, who got to the by line but just ran out of room.
Caiceeeeedo, no! The big man turned Garay brilliantly inside the box but in came Fernandez just as he was about to pull the trigger. Fabulous defending.
And from the resulting counter attack, Messi flies forward and fires just wide from outside from the box.
That;'s superb defending from Fernandez, who out-jumps Caicedo to head Valencia's cross away.
10 minutes to go here and it's becoming increasingly stretched, which will likely suit the home team who no doubt have more air in their lungs right now.
Messi looks pretty knackered. Get that man some oxygen.
Huge chance!! But Di Maria wastes it. Argentina burst forward and the Real Madrid man found himself with a clean run on Dominguez from the left but as the Ecuador keeper rushed from his goal, Di Maria's could only clip the ball well wide.
Another change for Argentina as Lucas Biglia replaces Banega.
15 minutes remaining and after a five-minute lull following Messi's introduction, Ecuador are right back in control.
Corner after corner for Ecuador. This time Rojas goes over to take it, but once again Argentina clear.
This time a corner from the other side does find an Ecuadorian head, but Castillo sends it over the bar. That was a relatively free header from six yards - he probably should have done better.
Juan Carlos Paredes
Paredes replaced by Ibarra for Ecuador.
And Saritama replaces Nobo.
Again Valencia fails to find a teammate.
Yellow Card Ezequiel Garay
This time Garay is booked for a foul on Valencia.
Montero get back on the left against Peruzzi and again delivers an early cross, which is volleyed behind by Rojo. Another corner for Ecuador.
In all seriousness, Messi's introduction has immediately changed the entire feel of this game. Ecuador have suddenly taken a step back.
With feet like that, this kid Messi must be pushing for a starting spot soon.
Di Maria comes forward and once again has a pop, but it's straight at Dominguez.
And Montero gets to feel how it is to be on the other side, as he brings down Messi as the Barca man skipped away from him.
Speaking of whom, he immediately tries his luck from outside the box on the right and it's deflected behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Well Argentina have had to weather quite a storm in the last 15 minutes. Right time for a change, you feel, as the entire tone changes as soon as little Leo arrives.
Here he comes. Messi replaces Aguero.
Yellow Card Federico Fernández
Yellow Card Felipe Caicedo
Fernandez and Caicedo have a little wrestle inside the box, and both will go into the book.
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
Di Maria goes into the book for a foul on Valencia.
Scraaaaamble! Valencia's cross blocked, Noboa's shot his Caicedo, the big man turned from 6 yards to fire home but the ball got away from him before Fernandez got a tow in and Peruzzi turned it behind. Argentina breathe again.
The big man is still having a pop at the ref. He's not happy.
Caicedo goes down inside the box. Penal?? The referee says no. Caicedo is furious. He nipped the ball past Romero inside the box after the ball broke off Basanta, before throwing himself to the ground. Looks like the referee got that one right, appeared very little, if any, contact there.
Montero comes again, Peruzzi tackles him. Only took him the Velez man about an hour.
Real chance for Argentina on the break, who find themselves three on one, but Di Maria's ball for Aguero is wayward and drifts back to Dominguez. It was the right ball, but poorly executed.
Di Mari curls one over the top to Palacio in the left-hand channel, but the Inter man sends his shot high and wide as he burst into the box.
And still they come. Good start to the second half here from Ecuador, who continue to pour forward.
Paredes jinks past Banega on the left and whips in a cross from distance looking for Caicedo, but it bounces back to Romero.
Valencia sends it in again before it comes back out to him, but the Man Utd winger is offside. And, breathe.
Argentina immediately on the back foot as Ecuador win a corner. And they've caught Argentina napping here, as Valencia plays shot to a completely unmarked Rojas inside the box. His first cross is cleared, it comes back to him and he smashes it across goal but Romero turns it behind again.
And we're back under way in Quito.
Messi in deep conversation with Sabella. I imagine it;s going something like this - Messi: Come on gaffa, get me on. Sabella: Not just yet, chief, but soon, everyone will be knackered in a few mins. Messi: lolz, yeah it's well high up here.
@hola_dayo has got in touch again on Twitter, but I don't know what he's saying. Let's stick to the character limit, fella.
The players are back out on the pitch way up here in Quito. And it's as we were. Assuming we'll see Messi at some point, but not yet.
And that's half-time. It's 1-1 here at the break, Segundo Catillo's header equalising Kun Aguero's early penalty. All to play for in the second half, that lad from Barca might get a kick too.
Di Maria is down holding his face. I think he may have ran straight into Paredes, which must be a bit of a shock. Get that man some oxygen.
Montero has been terrific so far, but he just needs to find his final ball. He's beating defenders at will, but is yet to carve out a really good chance for a teammate, or himself.
Valencia and Paredes combine well down the right, but the latter's low cross is cleared by Fernandez.
Here comes Montero again. He beats one, and another, ducks inside, but his shot is blocked and it bounces up safely into Romero's hands. Reinaldo Rueda must be screaming at his side to get it out to Montero at every opportunity.
Aguero is in. Romero's massive kick down field bounces over both Guagua and Erazo, leaving Kun with only to beat, but the Man City man has to stretch and just can't get enough on it, nudging the ball right at Dominguez from 12 yards.
Montero again finds himself alone with Peruzzi on the left, but this time he tries an early cross which is just to high for Caicedo.
Rojo is down. The home crowd jeer, suggesting it;s a bit of gamesmanship. They didn't see the replay to be fair - Paredes smashed the ball right at the one place Rojo wouldn't have elected to use to block a cross. Ouch.
Well that was much better from Banega there, who joined Peruzzi and took the ball off Montero's toe. Might be an idea to get Basanta out there too.
@hola_dayo on the Twitter 'doesn't like the way Argentina are playing'. It's difficult up there, but they are in danger of being overrun in the next ten minutes.
Been a great opening 30 minutes here. Delicately poised, is they refer to games like this. Been good fun so far,.
Another long shot flies in at Dominguez, Aguero with the effort this time but his waist-high drive is easily dealt with by the Ecuadorian keeper.
Valencia again whips an early cross right across the face of goal before standing, hands on hips, wondering why on earth nobody is getting on the end of it. And he has every right to, it was another fine ball in from the Man Utd winger.
Ever Banega has to drop to his right and help Peruzzi out back there, the Velez man is getting roasted.
Montero skips away from Peruzzi again on the left before the Argentine was penalised for pulling him back. Montero again calls for a yellow, the referee again ignores him.
The subsequent corner eventually falls to Montero just inside the box after Argentina fail to clear, but his low effort is weak and Romero smothers.
Valencia goes one-on-one with Rojo and whips in an early, low cross for Caicedo, but it's just turned behind.
Di Maria sends it in low, but it's cleared away. Much better last ten minutes here from the hosts. Argentina on the ropes/
Di Maria himself will take the corner. When the home fans stop throwing toilet roll and whatever else in his direction, that is.
Di Maria again shoots from range, this time testing Dominguez from all of 30 yards, but his low shot safely turned around the post.
In fairness to Peruzzi, Montero has the beating of most defenders in one-on-ones.
Again he home side come forward, this time winning a corner. Valencia delivers and it's cleared only as Noboa, who tries his best Montero impression but is tackled well by Banega.
Wonderful play from Montero on the left, who stood up Peruzzi and turned him inside and out, eventually leaving the youngster on his behind, before crossing for Caicedo but it;s cleared. Peruzzi needs some help out there, Montero certainly has the beating of him.
Ecuador getting into the game now. Valencia finds space on the right, getting in behind Rojo to meet a deep cross, but in trying to head the ball back across goal he can only send it looping up over the bar and behind for a goal kick.
It was Fernandez who got lost under the flight of the ball and was completely out-muscled by Castillo, who has a free header from four yards with Romero rooted to his line.
Goal S. Castillo
Ecuador have a free kick on the left. In it comes, and it's headed in! Segundo Castillo! Goal! 1-1
Jefferson Montero has a run down the left and is tripped by Banega. The Ecuador man jumps straight up and demands a booking for the Argentina midfielder, waving one of those imaginary yellow cards.
Di Maria gives the ball away right on the edge of his own box, but Valencia's cross aimed at Caicedo is too long.
Ecuador still playing with some urgency here but yet to find their groove.
Aguero again finds space down the left, this time working a neat one two with Di Maria before giving Jorge Guagua the hat, but his cross just can't find the Real Madrid man and Ecuador clear.
At the other end Rojas goes down when challenging for the ball with Basanta. The Ecuadorian collapses to the ground, instantly demanding a penalty. There was very little in the challenge, though, and the ref waves play on. Rojas luck to escape a yellow for diving there.
Aguero and Palacio combine down the left to win a throw, and once again Argentina will take their time and catch their breath.
And another long range shot comes in. Aguero this time. Argentina already have 4 shots on goal, Ecuador one. That ball flies through that thin air up there and the visitors will certainly fancy their luck after seeing Dominguez spill the ball before giving away the penalty.
The visitors have stared very well here, slowing the tempo and holding onto the ball well in midfield. Ecuador want to charge about the place, leaving their guests gasping for air. Sabella will certainly be happy so far.
Penalty Goal Sergio Agüero
Kun Aguero steps up... and scores! The Man City man sends his kick low to his left, with Dominguez diving the other way. Argentina lead.
Well now Argentina have something to defend.
Yellow Card Alexander Domínguez
Di Maria stung Dominguez' palms from range, Palacio picked up the rebound, nipped around the Ecuador keeper only to be brought down. Penalty!
There was some confusion for a minute there, but it's definitely been given.
Penalty to Argentina! I think?
And we're off!
It's the national anthems, and Messi no canta... oh yeah, he's on the bench. Nearly 3000 metres above sea level up there. Oxygen tanks will no doubt be at the ready in the visitors' dressing room.
Stat attack: Argentina have not won in Quito since 2001, they've lost on their last two trips here; Ecuador, meanwhile, have won all six of their home games in this qualifying campaign.
First Twitter question of the evening: What are you eating/drinking? I'm sticking with the yerba mate again.
Campagnaro, Clemente Rodriguez and Messi aside, Sabella going exactly as he did last time Argentina played at altitude when they grabbed a draw in Bolivia. He'd no doubt be happy with a draw tonight. Oh, you can get at me on the Twitter: @Rupert_Fryer
Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Zabaleta are suspended. Gino 'I once stopped Neymar completely on my own' Peruzzi slots in at right back. Rodrigo Palacio partners Aguero up top.
Argentina will go 5-3-2: Romero; Peruzzi, Basanta, Garay, Fernandez, Rojo; Mascherano, Banega, Di Maria; Palacio. Aguero.
Oh yeah, that fella who plays for Barcelona isn't playing - Messi is on the bench, people. *waves goodbye to half of those following this*
The team news is in and big Felipe Caicedo is back for the hosts - Ecuador: Dominguez, Paredes, Guagua, Erazo, Ayovi, Castillo, Noboa, Montero, Valencia, Rojas, Caicedo.
Good evening everyone and welcome to Goal’s live coverage of this Conmebol World Cup qualifier between Ecuador vs Argentina. My name is Rupert Fryer and I will attempt to guide you through the action this evening. So if you prefer intermittent text-based updates to actually watching live, colourful, moving pictures on the electric tele box then stick around - we'll get through this together.
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