4 Sep 2011

Argentina claim 1-0 win in friendly

10:32 am on 4 September 2011

Nicolas Otamendi headed the only goal as Alejandro Sabella kicked off his reign as Argentina football coach with a 1-0 win over Venezuela in a friendly in India.

Captain Lionel Messi curled in a corner in the 67th minute and Otamendi, unmarked at the near post, nodded the ball down and into the net before rushing off to lift the Barcelona playmaker.

Messi orchestrated most of the attacks but Argentina found it tough to beat Venezuela keeper Rafael Romo at the Yuba Bharati Stadium.

Romo made several saves including one brilliant effort to foil Messi that led to the 67th-minute corner.

Javier Pastore could have made it 2-0 after Romo collided with Gonzalo Higuain but the substitute blasted the ball over an empty net.

Earlier, Venezuela created the first real chance of the game only to see Jose Rondon squander his opportunity.

Rondon's team mounted several attacks in the first half without having a single shot on target.