A game of two halves

Bustos celebrates a stunning free kick

Fourteen years ago, Colombia travelled to Buenos Aires to take on an Argentina who’d been in three of the previous four World Cup finals (winning two) and were given no chance whatsoever of getting a result. Inspired by Carlos Valerrama and with Faustino Asprilla hitting a hat-trick, they blew the hosts away, 5-0. Tuesday night wasn’t quite that surprising. But it will be enough to breathe life into the race for first place in the World Cup qualifying group.

It was going well for Argentina in Bogotá until Carlos Tevez was sent off for an off-the-ball incident halfway through the first half – reports state he’d reacted badly to the manner in which he was being marked. Ten minutes after, there appeared to be nothing to worry about. Having kept the ball pretty well with one man less, Argentina gained a free kick in the left channel. Juan Román Riquelme played it quickly for Lionel Messi, who slalomed past four Colombian defenders inside the box on his way to another goal of the year contender to make it 1-0. As half-time arrived it was difficult to believe Argentina were a man down.

In the second half, the visitors continued to control possession for large periods of the match but with Messi on his own up front and Riquelme at times dropping very deep to collect the ball, chances were at a premium. Maxi Rodríguez was introduced for Esteban Cambiasso to try and shake things up, but the scores were levelled with just under an hour gone as Rubén Bustos, who’d hit a stunner against Venezuela at the weekend, curled a glorious free kick into the top corner of Roberto Abbondanzieri’s goal.

Worse was to follow for Argentina, as the defence pushed up too high and Tressor Moreno beat the offside trap to square for Jaime Castrillón. His attempt to roll it in from a narrow angle was heading wide, but Moreno got to it again at the far post to spark wild celebrations in Bogotá, which were to be intensified minutes later when the full-time whistle was blown. Colombia – at least temporarily, until Paraguay play Chile in Santiago – are second in the qualifying group. Argentina, after three straight wins, taste defeat for the first time.

Colombia 2 – 1 Argentina

Messi: Colombia 0 – 1 Argentina (36th min)

Bustos: Colombia 1 – 1 Argentina (59th min)

Moreno: Colombia 2 – 1 Argentina (81 min)

5 thoughts on “A game of two halves

  1. Not offside.

    If you puase when it switches to the replay, you can see the ball away from the midfielder and the attacker still onside. Close, but on.

  2. I’ve got to side with Matt on this one I’m afraid, Boaz. When I was watching last night my immediate reaction was ‘well, THAT’s going to be disallowed.’ but when the replays were shown it became clear that it was simply a case of a dreadfully high defensive line…

    And ahelms, no problem. Thanks for linking to me on the WP site.

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