bit messi for argentina

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina ended a run of six successive draws by beating neighbours Uruguay 2-1 in their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina ended a run of six successive draws by beating neighbours Uruguay 2-1 in their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero put Argentina 2-0 ahead within 15 minutes as they threatened to run away with the match.

In a game of ferocious tackling punctuated by scuffles between players, Uruguay battled their way back into the contest and Diego Lugano pulled one back five minutes before half time.

The win left Argentina with 16 points from nine games in the 10-team South American group while Uruguay have 12.

Paraguay referee Carlos Torres played an unwitting part in Argentina's first goal after only six minutes.

A clearance out of the Uruguay defence hit the official and ricocheted straight to Juan Roman Riquelme.

The enigmatic number 10, whose place was under threat after a run of lacklustre displays, delivered a perfectly flighted cross to the far post that was headed in by Messi.

Uruguay had barely recovered from that when the hosts struck again following another move down the left.

Esteban Cambiasso fired against the post from Carlos Tevez's cross and Aguero snapped up the rebound.

Uruguay came back fighting, replacing fullback Jorge Fucile with forward Edinson Cavani in the 25th minute and deservedly pulled one back five minutes before the break.

Luis Suarez managed to keep the ball in after a shot hit a defender and pulled it back into the middle of a crowded area where Lugano turned it in.

The game turned niggly in the second half with Argentina showing only sporadic flashes of inspiration and Uruguay rarely looking like snatching an equaliser.

Tevez had a shot punched away by Juan Castillo and Aguero volleyed wide after a neat combination between Riquelme and Messi in two rare moments of excitement.

Meanwhile, in last night's matches Brazil were due to face Venezuela and in another game Ecuador were to host Chile. - Reuters

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