Peru vs. Argentina  1 - 1

Article

Messi pleased with Peru draw

12 September 2012 16:00

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi feels their World Cup qualifier against Peru was more of a physical fight than a football game.

Carlos Zambrano gave Peru a 1-0 lead after 22 minutes of play, but Gonzalo Higuain helped the Argentines to a 1-1 draw with his equaliser only 15 minutes later.

"It was a really tight game, and it was more fight than football. Away games like this are always difficult and you have to be strong," Messi told reporters.

"The pitch did not exactly help either, but I don't want to use that as an excuse.

"We would have preferred to bag the full three points, but the most important thing was not to lose.

"A draw is a good result as we still sit atop of the table. We will have to win our next game against Uruguay."

Argentina have collected 14 points from seven games, and hold a one-point lead over second-placed Colombia.

Article

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying wrap: Argentina held, Colombia prevail

12 September 2012 06:21

Gonzalo Higuain rescued a point for Argentina, while Colombia proved too strong for Chile in Tuesday's World Cup qualifying action.

Argentina were on track for their first defeat against Peru since 1997 but Real Madrid striker Higuain saved the visitors' blushes as they claimed a 1-1 draw in Lima.

The sides kicked off amid a frenzied atmosphere at the Estadio Nacional and Peru almost instantly had the chance to go ahead.

Schalke's Jefferson Farfan was brought down inside the penalty area just a minute into the match but Claudio Pizarro's resulting spot-kick was saved by Sergio Romero.

Peru finally got their goal 22 minutes into proceedings.

A well-worked set-piece found Luis Advincula alone on the right hand side and the full back crossed low into the area where Carlos Zambrano, slipping between two defenders, poked the ball home.

Argentina had failed to create any clear-cut changes with the first half drawing to a close but a swift counter proved why the South American giants are always a danger.

Federico Fernandez's long ball found Ezequiel Lavezzi in space and, with Peru pleading for an offside, the Paris Saint-Germain man crossed for Higuain to drive first time past Raul Fernandez and level the match.

Argentina remain atop of the CONMEBOL standings but Colombia closed the gap to just one point after they beat Chile 3-1, in a match which saw both teams reduced to 10 men.

Colombia, who trounced Uruguay 4-0 on Friday, came from behind to secure another valuable win in Monumental.

Despite going a man down in the 34th minute after Gary Medel received his marching orders for slapping defender Luis Perea, Chile hit the front five minutes later courtesy of a free-kick from Matias Fernandez.

The hosts went into half-time with a 1-0 lead but were made to pay for their numerical disadvantage in the final 45 minutes.

James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Teofilo Gutierrez found the back of the net in a 20-minute period, while midfielder Abel Aguilar was sent off with three minutes left to play.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Paraguay suffered their fourth consecutive loss after falling 2-0 at home to Venezuela.

Paraguay, the last-placed team in the South American qualifying zone, are on the brink of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1994 following a brace from Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon.

Meanwhile, Edison Cavani cancelled out Felipe Caicedo's eighth-minute strike as Uruguay escaped with a point at home to Ecuador.

Article

World Cup qualifying wrap preview: Messi targets Peru

11 September 2012 08:39

Argentina will look to consolidate top place in FIFA World Cup qualifying when they travel to Lima to face Peru on Tuesday.

Following Friday's 3-1 home victory over Paraguay in CONMEBOL division, Alejandro Sabella's side top the South American section of qualifying on 13 points from six matches, one clear of Chile and Ecuador.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi iced his starring display against Paraguay with a sublime free-kick, and stopping the diminutive attacker will be at the forefront of Peru's plans.

Also in action in CONMEBOL on Tuesday, Chile - who are second in the nine-nation group - host Colombia, before bottom country Paraguay welcome an out-of-form Venezuela.

Uruguay can usurp Ecuador into third spot in the group with a win in their clash in Montevideo.

In the AFC, Jordan host Australia in Amman, in what looms as a must-win clash for both nations in Group B.

Lebanon will go in underdogs to their clash with Iran, having not won in their three Group A games so far, while the Iranians are unbeaten through two.

South Korea will hope to make it three wins from as many qualifying matches, when they travel to winless Uzbekistan, while unbeaten Japan host Iraq.

In UEFA qualifying, 24 matches will take place, headlined by Spain's first match in their World Cup defence away to Georgia.

Other European powerhouses in action on Tuesday include the Netherlands, who are on the road against Hungary, while Italy host Malta, England welcome Ukraine, Portugal are on home soil against Azerbaijan, Germany will visit neighbours Austria and France are at home to Belarus.

Other European qualifiers will see Cyprus at home to Iceland, Russia will visit Israel, Romania and Andorra will do battle, Norway welcome Slovenia, Bulgaria play host to Armenia, Turkey will welcome Estonia, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Latvia will go head to head.

Slovakia and Lichtenstein are set to clash, minnows Kazakhstan tackle Sweden away, Switzerland host Albania, San Marino welcome Montenegro, Serbia host Wales, Greece play host to Lithuania, Poland and Moldova do battle, Belgium take on Croatia, Northern Ireland and Luxembourg meet and Scotland host Macedonia.

In CONCACAF, Jamaica will be hoping to emulate their heroics from last week when they upset the United States when they two countries meet in Ohio.

Other matches in the confederation include Guatemala's visit to Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana's hosting of El Salvador, Mexico welcoming Costa Rica, Panama taking on the Canadians and Honduras at home to Cuba.

In Oceania, New Zealand will welcome the Solomon Islands, while New Caledonia are on the road at Tahiti.

Article

Messi: We have to be wary of Peru

8 September 2012 07:15

Argentina captain Lionel Messi said his side cannot afford to rest on their laurels ahead of their trip to Peru on Tuesday.

Argentina defeated Paraguay 3-1 on Friday to move to the top of the Conmebol World Cup qualifying group thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Messi, who iced the game with a wonderful free kick in the second half.

Argentina now lead Chile and Ecuador by one point in the race to Brazil 2014, but Messi advised calm ahead of a potentially tricky visit to Lima.

"This triumph is very valuable, now we go to Peru who are a very difficult team to play against," Messi said.

"Leading the group is the least important aspect, the key is to keep gaining confidence as a group."

Messi also took the opportunity to thank the crowd in Cordoba, which was also the venue for Argentina's sole victory of the Copa America in 2011 over Costa Rica and where the fans were vocal in their praise for the star.

"This is a beautiful feeling. It is incredible when the fans give you so much affection. The same happened to me in the Copa America, in Cordoba and in Buenos Aires," he said.

Messi has now scored nine goals in five international appearances during 2012, all of which have been won by Argentina.