Argentina and Ecuador have played out a dire 0-0 draw in an international friendly at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
In the first match for both teams since CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying group finished last month, Ecuador and Argentina looked decidedly rusty, although the former should have taken the lead in the opening half.
Ecuador captain Antonio Valencia was left unmarked at the back post but his header struck the woodwork instead of finding the back of the net.
Argentine substitute Maxi Rodriguez matched Valencia's effort with two minutes remaining in regulation time when he volleyed onto the post, ensuring the match ended in a draw.
Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella selected an experimental line-up on Friday with Lionel Messi out injured and the likes of Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta on the bench.
Sabella's line-up struggled to get going and Ecuador started the stronger, producing a number of counter-attacks that troubled Argentina.
In the 12th minute, Ecuador should have opened the scoring when Jefferson Montero, who was lively throughout the first half, found Valencia at the back post with a lovely dinked cross but the captain's header struck the post with Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero stranded.
On the half-hour mark, Montero then wasted a one-on-one opportunity, blasting his shot high and wide.
Romero was forced into a sharp save soon after the break when Juan Carlos Paredes unleashed from a tight angle, following a clever back-heel from Christian Noboa.
From then on Argentina started to take control but they failed to convert their best chance of the match in the 88th minute with Rodriguez hitting the post from Zabaleta's cross.
|Coach: R. Rueda|
for E. Valencia 60'
for J. Montero 73'
for F. Caicedo 73'
for C. Noboa 84'
for A. Valencia 89'
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