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Friendlies

  • September 2, 2011
  • • 9:30 AM
  • • Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium), Kalkātā (Kolkata), West Bengal
  • Referee: A. Rowan
0
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Venezuela 0-1 Argentina: Nicolas Otamendi header secures victory for la Albiceleste

The two South American teams offered a great spectacle in a fiery friendly in India, but the Gauchos ultimately proved to be too much for Cesar Farias' men.

Alejandro Sabella's Argentina career got off to a positive start as la Albiceleste achieved a 0-1 win against Venezuela in a friendly match in front of 100,000 fans at the Yuba Bharati Kriranganon on Friday.

Lionel Messi and Co. created plenty of chances, but could only secured a minimal victory, courtesy of a second-half header by Porto center back Nicolas Otamendi in the 71st minute.

Argentina was the more active team in the early minutes and created its first real chance just nine minutes into the match when Messi released Angel Di Maria on the left side of the box, but Roberto Rosales dispossessed the Real Madrid man with a well-timed sliding tackle.

Moments later, Venezuela threatened to score as Miku crossed from the right wing for Salomon Rondon into the penalty area, but the Malaga striker failed to connect properly with the ball and the chance went begging.

La Albiceleste continued to press, but lacked incisiveness and struggled to penetrate Venezuela's defense. Cesar Farias' men, on the other hand, were actively looking to score on the break and nearly did so moments before halftime, when Argentina's rearguard had to act quickly to deny Nicolas Fedor and Rondon.

Venezuela started the second period very brightly and almost opened the scoring through Cesar Gonzalez, who narrowly missed the target with a powerful finish shortly after the restart.

The best chance of the game came on the hour mark as Gonzalez was released by Rosales, but Sergio Romero dropped superbly to his left to deny the Deportivo Tachira midfielder.

Half the ground thought la Albiceleste took the lead a minute later when Messi curled a free kick for the top-right corner, but the finish only hit the side-netting, creating the illusion that ball actually flew in. Shortly after, Gonzalo Higuain hit the bar with a delicate lob as Argentina was tightening its grip.

The opener finally came in the in the 67th minute when Porto defender Otamendi headed in from a corner on the left by Messi to give la Albiceleste the lead.

The introduction of Javier Pastore and Sergio Aguero inserted much needed dynamism in the Gauchos' attack. Alejando Sabella's men nearly doubled the lead in the 80th minute when Messi had a volley from the edge of the box saved by Rafael Romo.

Argentina continued to attack in the remaining time, but was ultimately unable to score a second goal.

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