Poland defeats Argentina 2-1 in friendly

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.

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 embarassed 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, Batisa 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.”

Lineups:

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.