Gonzalo Higuain's equaliser
salvaged a point for Argentina in a disappointing 1-1 draw
against Peru in their 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Estadio
Nacional on Tuesday.
Argentina started slowly and could have fallen behind in the
third minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty. Angel di
Maria fouled Jefferson Farfan but goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved
Claudio Pizarro's spot-kick to keep the scores level.
The visitors continued to look subdued, particularly
talismanic forward Lionel Messi, and Peru took a deserved lead
in the 22nd minute when defender Carlos Zambrano slotted home
Farfan's low cross from the right.
Seven minutes before halftime Argentina equalised with their
first meaningful attack, Higuain applying a superb finish to
Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross to register his sixth goal of the
Despite the draw, Argentina remain top of the South American
standings on 14 points from seven matches, one ahead of Colombia
and Ecuador, and two in front of Uruguay and Chile. Peru have
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said the state of the
pitch, hard and with long grass, prevented his team from
developing the fast attacks that had brought them three
qualifying wins in a row scoring nine goals.
The visitors were outplayed for large passages and were
unable to bring Messi into the game due to Peru's close
"The tactic of playing with three forwards means our rivals
can often have the ball more than us, the thing is to hurt them
when we have it," he told a news conference.
Messi told reporters he was disappointed that Argentina
could not play their game, saying: "It was more fight than
football, we couldn't play as we like.
"Higuain's goal was worth a lot. We got a draw which isn't
bad in the qualifiers," he added.
PERU HIT POST
Argentina's Lavezzi forced Raul Fernandez into a diving save
early in the second half, and at the other end of the pitch
Peru's Luis Ramirez hit the post.
Fernando Gago was badly injured after 60 minutes when a
Peruvian defender fouled the Argentina midfielder then fell on
top of him.
Gago was carried off on a stretcher with a neck brace and
taken to hospital, with Pablo Guinazu taking his place. Gago
suffered concussion but soon recovered, according to Argentina
Peru's Pizarro missed another golden chance when he had a
free header after his marker fell over in the box but his effort
Higuain almost snatched what would have been an undeserved
winner for Argentina in added time with a low shot that
Fernandez pushed out for a corner.
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