In my absence, Argentina finally returned to winning ways after six matches of forgetting what it felt like. In the Monumental, in the clásico against their ancient cross-river rivals Uruguay, Alfio Basile’s side finally looked like a team again. It took seven minutes of the first half – between the fifth, when Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a header, of all things, and the twelfth, when Sergio Agüero doubled the tally – for Argentina to wrap up the points in spite of Diego Lugano’s goal to claw one back before half time. The rest of the match was riddled with fouls, many of them very hard and most of them from the visitors – even Uruguayan newspaper El País called it an ugly match.
Argentina’s training session on Sunday was a gentle one in an attempt to help the players recover from the treatment they got during the match. Javier Mascherano complained about the weakness of the refereeing, claiming that in terms of treatment from the officials, ‘Argentina looked like the away team.’ Martín Demichelis and Sergio Agüero, as well as the Liverpool man, were recovering from knocks on Sunday. Carlos Tevez – who set up both Argentine goals on Saturday, the second via an Esteban Cambiasso volley off the post – and Juan Román Riquelme, meanwhile, won’t be travelling to Santiago for Wednesday’s qualifier away to Marcelo Bielsa’s Chile.
World Cup qualifiers South Africa 2010, South American section: Argentina 2 – 1 Uruguay: