impressive opening qualifying victory over Chile last week was
soon forgotten when the two-time World Cup winners were handed a
humiliating 1-0 defeat by Venezuela on Tuesday.
Venezuela, no longer the whipping boys of South American football, took their first ever points in 19 qualifiers against
Argentina when central defender Fernando Amorebieta headed the
only goal from a Juan Arango corner just past the hour.
"In these qualifiers we're going full out, this is an
historic night and we must enjoy it," Venezuela captain Arango
Goalkeeper Mariano Andujar make several good saves to keep
the score down for a surprisingly lacklustre Argentina, who had
thrashed Chile 4-1 in Buenos Aires on Friday with a Gonzalo
Higuain hat-trick and a goal from the talismanic Lionel Messi.
Venezuela coach Cesar Farias could also feel vindicated
after he was criticised for resting key players in the 2-0 loss
against Ecuador in Quito on Friday.
The only team in the 10-nation South American Football
Confederation never to have qualified for the finals, Venezuela
have emerged as serious contenders for a place in Brazil after
their fourth place at the Copa America in Argentina in July.
It was a first defeat for Argentina's new coach Alejandro
Sabella, who took charge in August after Sergio Batista was
sacked following his team's quarter-final defeat to Uruguay in
"We were superior for the first 25 minutes but we came up
against a well-prepared Venezuela," Sabella told reporters.
Experienced in the marathon South American qualifying
campaign having assisted Daniel Passarella with the Argentina
team that reached the 1998 quarter-finals in France, Sabella
added: "It's a long, hard road. We'll try to work hard to
overcome what happened today."
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