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September 2, 2011
• Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium), Kalkātā (Kolkata), West Bengal
Referee: A. Rowan
Thanks for joining Goal.com for our live coverage of the international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela. Please stick with us for the match report, player ratings and reactions. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and it's been a pleasure.
That's it! Argentina win 1-0! Sabella wins his first game as coach of the national team.
90' + 3'
Venezuela can't seem to get the ball back from Argentina, who are now toying around with it. Seconds to go now.
Andres Tuñez Arceo
Argentina seem comfortable just playing the ball around to waste the last few minutes.
Corner to Argentina, who are looking to double the lead. Sosa sends in a powerful cross, but it's knocked out by the Venezuela defence.
Yellow Card Amorebieta
All eyes are on Messi as the game is near its end. Those in Indian want to see a goal from the Barca star. Only minutes left to make it happen.
Argentina are pushing for a second goal late. As usual, all eyes on Messi.
Messi with the solo effort down the left side, sends it on goal instead of passing it into the middle of the box. Romo does well to send it out for a corner.
Little more than 10 minutes remaining in the contest as Venezuela look to draw level.
Pastore nearly gets a goal after sending the ballall over the crossbar. The net was open after Romo collided with Higuain, who is now coming of for 'El Kun' Aguero.
A few changes for each side.
GOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL ARGENTINA!!!!!!!! Messi sends the ball off a corner to the front post, finding Otamendi, who headed the ball down and into the net for the advantage!
Goal Nicolás Otamendi
Nice little goalkeeper the Venezuelans have. Messi fires a shot from the top of the box, but Romo does just enough to knock it wide.
Messi chips the ball into the box to an on-running Higuain, who nearly knocks it in with an awkward volley.
Sahil Kotak writes on Twitter: Venezuela are surely looking better then expected.
GOAL!!!!! OH wait! NO!! It went wide! Messi's long free-kick looked to have entered off the post, but it hit the poll holding the net! Many in the stadium thought it was a goal! It's still 0-0!
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
First change coming for Sabella's men. PSG star Javier Pastore comes on to the pitch for Ricky Alvarez, who did not have his best showing. Before the sub, Lucho is fouled outside of the box. Another chance from a set piece coming.
ROMERO!!!!!!! Rosales finds Gonzalez charging towards the box, but the Sampdoria man makes the stop with a low dive to his left.
As each minute passes, Argentina look more sloppy. Zabaleta, who seems like the five to have done so in the last ten minutes, sends a pass too long.
Messi sends the ball past the by-line, failing to connect with anyone. Banega, Pastore and Aguero are warming up.
Long chance from a set piece for Argentina as Lucho is fouled.
Princesino on Twitter thinks Messi bags a brace in the second half.
The Venezuela defence is holding strong, shifting well while Argentina attempt to change the field.
Gonzalez hits a solid shot that flies by the post. Romero was there to stop it had it been on goal.
No changes have been made. Little surprise there.
The second half is now underway! 45 minutes left in the encounter. Are we going to see a victory or a draw?
Moments away from the second half.
I owe Sandeep Balan a mention. He predicted at the beginning of the game that it would end 0-0. Halfway there mate.
Amoy Ghoshal at the Salt Lake stadium: No goals in the first half at the new-look Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata,but it has been an entertaining contest with Argentina looking brilliant when Messi is on the ball, but Venezuela are dangerous on the break with the Argentina back-line looking far from convincing. The second half promises to be equally interesting but for Kolkata the result is irrelevant, they just want to see Messi score and play the whole match.
The second half will be underway shortly. Will be interesting to see what chances Sabella makes. It hasn't been a poor first half for the team. They have had chances, just not any great ones. Venezuela closed out the half as the better team. Can they continue that in the second?
How would you grade Sabella's first half as Argentina coach? Let me know on Twitter. Send messages to @RCGonzalez10
That's the end of the half. Should be a nice second half coming up.
Venezuela are now the better side. Fedor nearly finds the net in front of goal by Demichelis does well to slide and save Romero. Then, Rondon drills a shot into the outside net. Nearly caught the goalkeeper out of position.
Alvarez gets a shots off, but Romo does well to dive and stop it. On the replay, looks as if the ball was heading way wide. Now, on the counter, Venezuela have a corner.
Few minutes left in the first half. Some changes will certainly be made at halftime.
Feltscher nearly puts Venezuela up with a solo effort from the right side of the box, but his shot passes the post. Would have beaten Romero had it been on goal.
OHHH! Just by the post! Messi's shot his off an Argentina player in the box, sending it by the post.
Lucho Gonzalez is fouled at the top of the box by Vizcarrondo after the former River Plate star charged towards the box from midfield. Another chance from a set piece here.
Messi steals the ball from the Amorebieta in the box before a little dash towards the middle, but his low shot is stopped calmly by Romo.
Corner to Argentina after Higuain's shot is blocked well by a sliding Amorebieta.
Nacho Cibeyra, an Argentine, writes on Twitter that Argentina will win 2-0 with goles from Messi and Di Maria.
After just mentioning Alvarez, he nearly finds the net on a rebound after Messi sent Di Maria through into the box. The Real Madrid attacker did well to evade his defender but could not find a teammate at the back post. Alvarez tried to put it home after a rebound left the ball in the middle of the box, but the Venezuela defence did well to stop the threat.
Alvarez touches the ball. Almost forgot he was playing. Has not been much of a factor up to this point.
Now, Di Maria sends Messi through, but Romo comes out well to knock the ball away with a sliding effort.
Di Maria!!!!!!! Messi finds the Real Madrid man in the box, again, but his shot from the left side of the box goes wide with a powerful attempt.
VENEZUELAAAAAAA!! Oh my! Rondon, with a solid look in the box after a stellar pass from wide, fails to get a solid touch on the ball, not even testing Romero. What a chance wasted.
Argentina look a little more calm under Sabella, a lot more passing instead of just attacking. However, nothing to show for it as of yet.
Di Maria takes a shot from outside the box after Lucho Gonzalez manages to get him the ball, but the Real Madrid star sends it way over the goal.
DI MARIA!!! Ohh great play on the ball by Rosales, who slides in the box to send Messi's through ball wide. The Barcelona man nearly found Di Maria perfectly in the box but the defender does well to eliminate the threat.
Cichero takes his side's first shot from outside of the box. It was closer to the seats than the goal.
Messi's shot from the set piece hits the wall. Danger avoided early for Cesar Farias' men.
Messi showing some clever footwork. Foul at the top of the box. Good chance coming for Argentina.
Argentina with most of the possession in the early going, looking to play Messi down the wing.
Messi takes his first touch in space as the fans in India go nuts. I wonder who they came to see? Certainly not Eduardo Salvio.
The match has now begun! One more prediction as Argentina start play. Ralph Hannah, Goal.com's Paraguayan football correspondent, predicts a 3-0 win for Argentina. Follow Ralph on Twitter (@paraguayralph)
Hy Saint on Twitter hopes Messi shows up: " hope Messi ain't a flop show like he always is for Argentina"
Football Mantra on Twitter thinks Sabella's men will dominant to the tune of a 6-2 thrashing. Send me your predictions on Twitter to @RCGonzalez10
Moments away from the start of the match. Argentina are wearing the classic while and blue stripes. Venezuela have on their red wine shirts.
Both teams participated in July's Copa America in Argentina. The hosts were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Uruguay. Venezuela were knocked out in the semi-finals or Paraguay.
The match is minutes away. After the game, be sure to check back for Daniel Edwards' match report, ratings and reactions from the contest.
Venezuela's starting XI: Romo; Amorebieta, Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Chicero; Gonzalez, Rincon, Siejas, Orozco; Fedor and Rondon.
Argentina's starting XI: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo; Gonzalez, Mascherano, Alvarez; Messi, Higuain and Di Maria.
Lineups will be coming in a few minutes. For now, please let me know your prediction for the match. You can message me on Twitter. Simply send a message to @RCGonzalez10
We have a bunch of newcomers for the two-time World Cup winners. Alejandro Sabella is now the coach. This will be his first game in charge of the national team. Ricardo Alvarez, a talented midfielder who is now at Inter after a summer transfer from Velez Sarsfield, is making his first appearance for his nation at the senior level and will start the game.
Welcome everyone to Goal.com's live coverage of the exciting international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and I'll be providing updates for the contest in Calccutta.
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