Khamis, 15 Oktober 2009


Yehaaa my FAV team dgn England akhirnya layak secara automatik selepas kalahkan Uruguay 1-0 yehaaaa

rticle from: Times Online
ARGENTINA has beaten Uruguay 1-0 in Montevideo to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Diego Maradona has a history of giving credit for his successes to higher powers, but there was no need for the hand of God or a miracle of Saint Palermo as his Argentina team battled for a win in Montevideo.

Defeat would have put at risk Argentina’s record of qualifying for the final stages of every World Cup since 1970. But, against the expectations of many, they can book their flights for South Africa next summer after the sort of professional performance that has seldom been associated with Maradona’s reign.

A goal by Mario Bolatti, a late substitute, six minutes from time, made sure of a first win in Uruguay since 1976, but in truth it was only in the first ten minutes that they had looked unlikely to get the point that was all they needed against a disappointing home side, who had Martin Cáceres, the defender, sent off as their frustration mounted.

Uruguay needed to win in front of a sell-out crowd of 70,000 in the Estadio Centenario who did their best to roar their team to victory. But they must now settle for a two-leg play-off against Costa Rica or Honduras.

Both teams had managed nervy, last-gasp wins at the weekend. Argentina needed an injury-time strike from Martín Palermo, the veteran substitute, to beat Peru, while Uruguay overcame Ecuador in the inhospitable altitude of Quito, also thanks to an injury-time goal, scored by Diego Forlán from the penalty spot.

But the odds were against Argentina taking three points last night given that they had managed only one victory away from home in the campaign. Yet again Maradona, who has been criticised for failing to find a settled team, made changes.

As expected, he relegated Palermo back to the bench, preferring to start with Gonzalo Higuaín, of Real Madrid, alongside Lionel Messi. But he also dropped Federico Insúa, Enzo Pérez and Pablo Aimar in favour of Juan Sebastián Verón, Martín Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi, living down to his record of never fielding the same defence in successive games. And as usual, a host of talented players were omitted altogether.

But Maradona’s selection appeared to be justified by his team’s first-half performance, even if the first ten minutes did not augur well for them. A period of silence before kick-off was followed by uproar as Uruguay charged forward. Luis Suárez, the Ajax forward who is the top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie, gave Argentina the first scare, pulling the ball back from the byline and forcing Ángel di María to hoof the ball anywhere.

Jorge Rodríguez broke away and when Sergio Romero, the Argentina goalkeeper, rushed out to kick clear, he succeeded only in hitting the ball against the onrushing Uruguayan and was relieved to see it rebound wide of his empty goal.

The tackles flew in, but Carlos Amarilla, the Paraguayan referee, who has taken charge of a Copa America final and is on the long list for next summer’s finals, managed to keep his yellow card in his pocket until the ninth minute, when Gabriel Heinze produced a studs-up lunge.

Messi, whose poor form in the campaign has contrasted with his imperious displays for Barcelona, was struggling to make an impression once again, but, little by little, Argentina were succeeding in taking the sting out of the home side’s attacks.

Uruguay needed to start the second half as they had the first and only the heel of Otamendi, the Argentina right back, prevented a free kick reaching the unmarked Álvaro Pereira.

The news that Chile had taken the lead against Ecuador early in the second half was positive for both teams, meaning that a play-off was likely to be the worst that could befall them. But Argentina seemed to take the greater inspiration. Demichelis almost made contact with a cross to the far post and Messi slipped a pass through for Higuaín, who was only just beaten to the ball by Fernando Muslera, the Uruguay goalkeeper.

Uruguay were never allowed to settle and when they manufactured another opening from a free kick, Diego Lugano, although unmarked, produced a header that was more like a clearance than an effort at goal.

Uruguay (3-5-2): F Muslera — A Scotti, D Lugano, M Cáceres — M Pereira, D Pérez, J Rodríguez (sub: E Cavani, 59min), W Gargano (sub: C Rodríguez, 71), Á Pereira — L Suárez (sub: S Abreu, 77), D Forlán. Substitutes not used: J Fucile, J Castillo, M Victorino, S Eguren. Booked: M Pereira, Pérez, Cáceres, Scotti. Sent off: Cáceres.

Argentina (4-4-1-1): S Romero — R Otamendi, M Demichelis, R Schiavi, G Heinze — J Gutiérrez, J Mascherano, J S Verón, A di Maria (sub: L Monzón, 76) — L Messi (sub: C Tévez, 86) — G Higuaín (sub: M Bolatti, 80). Substitutes not used: N Pareja, M Andújar, P Aimar, M Palermo. Booked: Heinze, Otamendi.

Referee: C Amarilla (Paraguay).

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