South America wrap: Barcelona’s Messi inspires Argentina to victory
Barcelona's Lionel Messi inspires Argentina to a 3-0 victory over Uruguay in World Cup qualifying, writes Charlie Reynolds
Messi double drives Argentina closer to World Cup
Two goals from captain Lionel Messi, as well as one from Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, helped Argentina convincingly overcome their Rioplatense rivals Uruguay in the latest round of World Cup qualifying. The home fans had to wait until the 66th minute for a goal, but once Messi had broken the deadlock, the visitors’ resolve crumbled and Argentina were able to add two more with ease. It was a convincing performance from Argentina and in particular from Messi, who once again impressed for his country and has now surely silenced those who thought he reserved his best games for Barcelona. The win means the Albiceleste remain top of the South American qualifying group, with four wins in their last five games. Colombia are one point behind in second place after Radamel Falcao’s brace helped them beat Paraguay, who remain bottom of the table with only one win in eight. Ecuador are also level on points with Colombia thanks to a 3-1 win over Chile – ex-City striker Felipe Caicedo chipping in with two goals.
Kaká scores on international return
Brazil cruised to a 6-0 friendly victory over Iraq in Sweden last week, in a game most notable for the return to international football by Kaká. The Real Madrid midfielder was joined on the score sheet by Chelsea star Oscar, who grabbed two, as well as Neymar, Lucas and Hulk as the Selecao easily overpowered their weak opponents. With Iraq failing to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, nothing other than a convincing win was to be expected and while the result extends Brazil’s unbeaten run, under-pressure manager Mano Menezes will not have learned anything new about his side. However, the successful return of Kaká will at least be some consolation.
Superclásico de las Américas rescheduled for November
The Superclasico de las Americas match between Argentina and Brazil, recently called off due to floodlight failure, has been rescheduled for 21 November. Brazil went into the second leg of the annual contest between the two countries, both only fielding players from South American domestic leagues, with a 2-1 lead, thanks to a late Neymar penalty. However, the failure of the floodlights at the stadium in Resistencia meant last month’s fixture was abandoned. It was thought that the game would not be rearranged, but a gap in league schedules has been found by both football associations and the game will now be played at Boca Juniors’ atmospheric Bombonera stadium in front of a passionate home crowd.
River Plate fans unveil world’s longest football flag
Fans of River Plate have unveiled the world’s longest football flag, which measures almost 8km, an incredible 7,829.74m to be exact. Los Millionarios have easily surpassed the current record holders, Primera rivals Rosario Central, who had previously unveiled a 4,350m-long flag. The unfurling of the giant flag, which required a van to do so, was witnessed by more than 15,000 fans of the club who paraded it through the streets of Buenos Aires to their home at the Estadio Monumental. The flag, which is roughly the length of 316 double-decker London buses lined up side by side, is to be cut up and exhibited in various places across the city. On the pitch, the club have been enjoying a good run of form, after an indifferent start, and have scored nine goals in their last two games, keeping clean sheets in both.
Goal of the Week: Peru’s Juan Carlos Mariño against Bolivia
Juan Carlos Mariño gives Peru the lead against Bolivia with a thumping long range strike.
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