Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: History was made in Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium when Latin American giant Argentina took the field against Venezuela in an international friendly on Friday. The historic tie on the Indian soil ended with a 1-0 victory for Argentina.
Nicolas Otamendi scored the lone goal at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium at Salt Lake.
Argentina grabbed the lead in the 68th minute through Otamendi who converted from a corner, thanks to the brilliant kick by Lionel Messi. This was the defender’s first career goal for Argentina in 12 games.
There was a sudden burst of energy from the Venezuelan side after the break to make the tie livelier. The Argentine goalie Sergio Romero was tested on few occasions by the Venezuelans, who broke the Argentine defence couple of times.
After the end of the first half of the historic match, both the teams failed to convert their chances into goal. In the 15 minutes prior to half time both the teams displayed excellent football on the field but failed to score. Venezuela’s Gonzalez and Rondon failed to give a perfect finish for their efforts.
Meanwhile, the Argentinean captain was in his usual self with his magical pace and each of his moves was greeted with loud cheers from the crowd. The major part of the game’s first half saw a dominating Argentina grabbing a major share of ball possession against Venezuela.
The first attack on the goal from Argentina came in the 19th minute from Angel Di Maria, well assisted by the skipper himself, but failed to find the net. Soon, Messi showed some glimpses of his magic and came close to scoring in the 30th but the Venezuelan custodian Romo denied Argentina any breakthrough.
Football fans in Kolkata got the chance of watching their favourite footballer in action in their home ground in the first ever FIFA official international friendly between two foreign nations played on Indian soil.
Several Indian players, past and present, including Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh, were on the stands to watch the biggest football event in India. Indian national team coach Armando Colaco was also present.
The match was a dress rehearsal for both the teams as they will lock horns again on October 11 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.