Falcao, cavani continue to score
Argentina’s hopes of sealing qualification for next year’s FIFA World Cup™ were thwarted in a 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Tuesday as Colombia took a massive stride towards the finals in Brazil with a 2-0 victory over Peru. Argentina, who once again left Lionel Messi on the bench, had to settle for a point after Segundo Castillo cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s early spot kick for the visitors at the Olympic Stadium in Quito.
Ugly scenes marred the closing stages, however, with Argentina captain Javier Mascherano sent off for kicking a medic who was stretchering him off the pitch in an incident that triggered a prolonged touchline melee.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella praised the performance of his side in digging out a point against an Ecuador team who had boasted a 100 per cent record in previous home qualifiers. ‘We knew it was going to be our hardest game,’ Sabella said. ‘We had a lot of things against us - injuries, suspensions. But the team responded with great dedication. I am very satisfied.
’ However Sabella warned against complacency ahead of their next fixture against Paraguay in September.’We’re not qualified until it’s mathematically certain,’ Sabella said. Colombia, helped by another Radamel Falcao goal, produced a typically dominant performance to beat Peru 2-0, and move closer to their first World Cup since 1998 on Tuesday.
Falcao converted an early penalty, his seventh goal of the campaign, to give Colombia their fourth successive home win in the South American qualifying group, all of them without conceding a goal.
Teofilo Gutierrez bundled in the second on the stroke of halftime as Peru continued a dismal away record which could ultimately wreck their chances of a first World Cup appearance since 1982. Colombia, who have won seven of their 12 matches, are second in the nine-team group with 23 points and look almost certain to qualify.
Striker Edinson Cavani scored the only goal as Uruguay put their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a 1-0 away win over Venezuela on Tuesday. The Copa America holders, who had taken only two points from their previous six matches, climbed into the fifth-place playoff berth trading places with Venezuela on goal difference. The top four teams in the nine-nation group will go through to the finals in Brazil next year and the fifth-placed side into a playoff against an Asian qualifier for another berth to qualify for the final competition.