Poland defeated a weakened Argentina team 2-1 in an international friendly on Sunday with Adrian Mierzejewski scoring in the first half and Pawel Brozek adding another in the second.
Article continues below ...
Defender Pablo Zabaleta was the only Argentina player in the starting lineup who has also made the 26-man preliminary roster for next month’s Copa America – the South American championship. All of the team’s biggest stars were missing, including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and Javier Zanetti of Inter Milan.
Mierzejewski scored in the 26th, but Argentina’s Marco Ruben equalized in the 47th to set the stage for Brozek’s winner in the 67th.
Nigeria defeated a similar Argentina team 4-1 on Wednesday in Abuja,asa match that is being investigated by FIFA for alleged match-fixing. No players are implicated.
Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentine Football Association, criticized coach Sergio Batista for the Nigeria match, saying the ”humiliating loss” and embarrassed the nation and the team shirt.
This match was better for Argentina, which opens the Copa America on July 1 against Bolivia. Batista said he was also looking further ahead.
”We had a chance to draw, we played better than against Nigeria, Batista said. ”I see improvement. … Some of the players deserve to play in the next matches. Everything is about the project for 2014 (World Cup).”
Poland broke through in the 26th. Argentina lost possession in midfield and Mierzejewski took a loose ball, broke into the area, and scored with a left-footed shot from 12 meters (yards) that beat goalkeeper Adrian Gabbarini.
Poland had a half-dozen scoring chances in the first half, although Argentina played slightly better in this match than against Nigeria.
Argentina equalized when Ruben ran onto a loose ball in the area and scored from 15 meters.
The goal gave Argentina momentum, and it followed up with more possession while Poland tried to score on the counterattack.
Mierzejewski almost scored his second, breaking down the left side in the 63rd and firing a low, hard shot that Gabbarini sprawled to stop.
Poland got the winner in the 67th when Brozek took a perfectly timed pass, slipped through the defense and netted with a short chip from 10 meters.
The stadium was two-thirds full for the match. Polish news website TVN24 called the Argentina team ”a shadow of the great Argentina” and said all that remained ”was the name.”
Poland – Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Piszczek, Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Tomasz Jodlowiec, Jakub Wawrzyniak, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Rafal Murawski (Adam Matuszczyk 75), Dariusz Dudka, Adrian Mierzejewski (Michael Kuchta 79), Kamil Grosicki (Pawel Brozek 55), Robert Lewandowski (Klich Mateusz 89).
Argentina – Adrian Gabbarini, Pablo Zabaleta (Fernando Belluschi 46), Mateo Musacchio, Federico Fazio (Emiliano Insua 46), Cristian Ansaldi, Nicolas Bertolo (Jonathan Bottinelli 46), Mario Bolatti, Alejandro Cabral (Mauro Formica 67), Marco Ruben, Pablo Piatti (Osvaldo Gaitan 76), Jonathan Cristaldo.