Copa América - Poor Argentina held by Colombia

Thu, 07 Jul 03:39:00 2011

Argentina remain without a win at the Copa America after they were held to a 0-0 draw by a spirited Colombia side in Santa Fe.

Copa América - Argentina held by Colombia

In truth, the host nation and pre-tournament favourites were fortunate to escape without a defeat after Colombia squandered several chances to record a famous victory over the former world champions.

Gustavo Ramos somehow contrived to lift a lovely cross by Mauricio Moreno over the bar from six yards out on 18 minutes before Moreno swept a shot wide from eight yards out on 24 minutes after Nicolas Burdisso had his pocket picked by Ramos.

With the home goalkeeper Sergio Romero grounded, it was a golden chance to put Colombia on the road to three points that would have been far from a case of daylight robbery.

The whistling home fans were far from happy with a second draw in the tournament coming hot on the heels of a 1-1 draw with Bolivia in their Group A opener on Saturday evening.

With Colombia beating Costa Rica 1-0 in their opening match, Argentina know they will not win their section if the Colombians down Bolivia in the closing group match on Sunday.

Argentina must overcome Costa Rica, but only topping the group will guarantee they avoid a potential heavyweight clash with fierce rivals Brazil in the last eight.

A win for Bolivia or Costa Rica in the other Group A match this evening will leave Argentina requiring a closing win to make it through.

Boasting an attacking trio of Ezequiel Lazezzi, Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, Argentina should have had more than enough to snare the three points they cherished, but they lacked cohesion throughout the 90 minutes.

Even the introduction of Sergio Aguero late on failed to lift the spirits of the home side.

Their best chance of the match arrived on 32 minutes when Messi played a lovely ball into the path of Lavezzi, whose shot from inside the area was well saved by the visiting goalkeeper Luis Martinez.

Colombia had similar efforts on the Argentina goal with Romero swatting out long-range shots from Radamel Falcao and Moreno before the break.

As the game built towards a frantic conclusion, Romero was forced to deny Falcao while Martinez had to look lively to prevent Gonzalo Higuain from pulling the match out of the fire in repelling a volley.

Argentina manager Sergio Batista's tactics did not help the heavily marked Messi, who exerted little influence and even blasted a free-kick over the top in the second half that summed up the mood of the evening.


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