Romania holds Argentina to goalless draw in Bucharest

Lionel Messi was held goalless against Romania on Wednesday.  

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania held Lionel Messi’s Argentina to a 0-0 draw in a friendly on Wednesday as the South Americans continued their preparations for the World Cup.

Argentina demonstrated its superior technical skills and kept up the pressure throughout a game watched by 47,000 people on a wet evening at the National Arena in Bucharest.

However, Romania proved tenacious in defense and was clearly determined not to lose against one of the pre-tournament favorites for the World Cup in Brazil. Argentina’s best chance came in the 84th minute when Messi intercepted a ball in the box and passed to Angel di Maria, whose shot was saved by goalkeeper Ciprian Tartarusanu.

Messi made a slow start to the match and appeared to vomit briefly onto the field in the seventh minute, shortly after taking a free kick.

Romania made a more promising start and midfielder Alex Maxim brought a sharp save from Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero in the 33rd minute with a close-range header. Three minutes later, Maxim slotted the ball into the Argentina net from six meters (yards) only to have the strike ruled out for offside.

Argentina’s best chance of the first half was a shot from Sergio Aguero that was saved by Tatarusanu.

Romania played more cautiously in the second half, looking to hold on to a creditable draw. In the 66th minute, Gonzalo Higuain tried his luck with a left-foot shot from the side of the box but the ball flew wide and the home side managed to secure a clean sheet ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifiers later this year.