FIFA WC – RUSSIA 2018
Argentina strived to a 1-1 draw with Venezuela yesterday Tuesday which left the South American giants’ 2018 World Cup qualification hopes hanging in the balance.
A second-half own goal from Venezuela defender Rolf Feltscher spared Argentina’s the shame after the visitors had taken the lead through Jhon Murillo.
The result has left Argentina in fifth position in the South American stagnant with just 24 points from 16 games.
The top four finishers (teams) in the table qualify for next year’s final automatically, while the fifth place team faces New Zealand for a two-leg playoffs.
Argentina would still be favourites to progress to Russia past the New Zealanders, but will be taking nothing for granted in their forthcoming final of two qualifiers next month after another unconnected performance.
Venezuela which fall to the bottom of the table and already eliminated from contention, has held their own for long periods as Argentina struggled to click despite a star-studded line-up spearheaded by Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala.
After a poor/weak first half display, Venezuela took a deserved lead six-minutes into the second half with a sweeping counter-attack that exposed Argentina.
A flowing move ended when Sergio Cordova threaded a perfect pass through to Murillo who deftly tucked his finish past Manchester United’s Sergio Romero.
However Argentina got back on level terms three minutes later when substitute Marcos Acuna sprinted down the left before crossing into the six-yard area. Under pressure from Icardi, Feltscher turned the ball into his own net.