Aguero, Higuain, Messi score in rush for Argentina
Argentina scored three goals in nine minutes to overpower
Ecuador 4-0 and move atop the South American World Cup qualifying
standings on Saturday.
Argentina looked like the team it’s expected to be with Sergio
Aguero opening the scoring in the 23rd, before Gonzalo Higuain
doubled the advantage in the 30th, taking a through pass from
Lionel Messi. Messi scored two minutes later, this time passing to
Higuain who returned the ball for the Barcelona star to drill it
high into the net.
Angel Di Maria added the final goal in the 76th.
The Gauchos improved to 10 points in five matches. Chile has
nine in five. Uruguay has eight, but has played only four.
Venezuela has eight in five games. Ecuador has six in four
Argentina was dominant from the first minute at River Plate’s
Monumental Stadium in the Argentine capital. It was perfect in the
nine-minute scoring spree, slipping quick passes past stunned
Aguero scored from a shot in the area after taking a perfectly
weighted pass from Di Maria.
Next, Messi took the ball from midfield and, buffeted by two
Ecuador defenders, slipped the ball through to Higuain who scored
inside the post from a sharp angle.
Messi, often criticized in Argentina for seldom showing the form
he does at Barcelona, scored on a counterattack in the 32nd. Messi
almost scored another in the 69th, breaking from the right side and
shooting on-target with keeper Alexander Dominguez leaping to bat
away the shot.
Di Maria broke through on a play set up by Messi with the Real
Madrid winger finishing perfectly.
The only slip for Argentina came in the 51st when Aguero was
given a yellow card for diving in the area trying to draw a
penalty. He will miss the next qualifier against Paraguay.
Ecuador is home against Colombia on June 10 in the next round.
Argentina has the next round off and plays Brazil on June 9 in a
friendly in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
ARGENTINA: Sergio Romero, Federico Fernandez, Ezequiel Garay,
Pablo Zabaleta, Clemente Rodriguez, Fernando Gago, Javier
Mascherano, Angel Di Maria (Maxi Rodriguez, 83), Sergio Aguero
(Jose Sosa, 62), Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain (Ezequiel Lavezzi,
ECUADOR: Alexander Dominguez, Gabriel Achilier, Jorge Guagua,
Jairo Campos, Walter Ayovi, Pedro Quinonez, Cristian Noboa, Luis
Saritama (Jaime Ayovi, 39), Antonio Valencia, Cristian Suarez
(Jefferson Montero, 45), Cristian Benitez (Renato Ibarra, 84).