Diego Maradona couldn't have asked for a better Argentina debut as his side crushed Venezuela 4-0 at the Monumental stadium...
Argentina 4-0 Venezuela
From the kick-off it was evident that there was only ever going to be one winner, and Argentina proved their superiority with a high-scoring victory on Diego Maradona's official debut.
As was expected Argentina started the stronger of the two sides, and they pushed forward in large numbers as they looked to score an early goal.
After much pressure, Argentina finally went ahead in the 25th minute when Lionel Messi beat the offside trap and slotted home after a superb one-two with Carlos Tevez.
Messi was given the responsibility of wearing the no.10 shirt that was made famous by Maradona during his glorious 21-year career.
Maradona looked very excited on the bench, not only because of the manner in which his team were playing, but because of the support they were receiving from the strong 60,000 home crowd.
Despite numerous attempts on goal, a dominant Argentina went into the half-time break with a slender one-goal advantage over a Venezuela side who couldn't do more but defend.
It seemed that Maradona had motivated his troops during the half-time team talk, as they came out ever more aggressive than in the first period.
Only one minute into the half Manchester United striker Tevez doubled Argentina's advantage when he met a Messi cross with a well-timed volley.
Six minutes later Maximiliano Rodriguez added their third goal with another volley, which this time was deflected into the back of the net from the foot of a Venezuelan defender.
Venezuela lacked sufficient quality to match their opponents, and were completely overwhelmed throughout the half.
At this stage a confident Argentina slowed down the pace, and enjoyed their huge lead with slick passing in the midfield.
The two-time world champions completely controlled their opponents, and although they had taken their foot off the pedal they continued to look dangerous.
In the 70th minute Maradona replaced Tevez with Juan Sebastian Veron to the appreciation of the Buenos Aires crowd. Veron, veteran of two World Cups, is likely to be the permanent replacement of the retired Juan Roman Riquelme.
Even if they were more relaxed by now Argentina weren't done yet, and in the 72nd minute Sergio Aguero added their fourth goal of the night, when he beat a couple of defenders before firing the ball past a hapless Renny Vega in the Venezuela goal.
As Maradona had wished for prior to the match, him and his Argentine squad were applauded off the field by the ecstatic home crowd.
Argentina 4: Juan Carrizo, Javier Zanetti, Marcos Angeleri, Gabriel Heinze, Maxi Rodriguez (Angel Di Maria 73'), Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago, Jonas Gutierrez, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez (Juan Sebastian Veron 70'), Sergio Aguero (Diego Milito 78').
Venezuela 0: Renny Vega, Juan Fuenmayor, Gabriel Cichero, Jose Velasquez, Gerson Chacon, Roberto Rosales (Alejandro Moreno 50'), Cesar Gonzalez, Juan Arango, Tomas Rincon, Jorge Rojas (Rafael Acosta 83'), Giancarlos Maldonado (Francisco Flores 78').
Goals: Lionel Messi (25'), Carlos Tevez (46'), Maxi Rodriguez (51'), Sergio Aguero (72')
Yellow Cards: Marcos Angeleri (29'), Gabriel Cichero (34'), Jorge Rojas (39'), Tomas Rincon (62'), Jonas Gutierrez (68')
Referee: Victor Rivero
Venue: Monumental de Nunez, Buenos Aires. Att: 60,000
Gregory Sica, Goal.com