Riquelme free kicks give Argentina 2-0 win

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BUENOS AIRES, Oct 14 (Reuters) Midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, an outcast at his club Villarreal and playing his first game for three months, scored two majestic free kicks to give Argentina a 2-0 win over Chile in their opening World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Riquelme, who has not played at all for his Spanish club this season after falling out with coach Manuel Pellegrini, curled his first effort into the top right hand corner from the edge of the area in the 27th minute.

The mercurial midfielder produced an even more impressive shot from around 30 metres to increase Argentina's lead in the 45th minute on an evening when he upstaged team mate Lionel Messi.

Chile's problems increased when defender Cristian Alvarez was sent off in the 54th minute for crashing into Javier Mascherano.

The match was an unhappy homecoming for Chile's Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, who was in charge of Argentina from 1998 to 2004.

Chile, with Bielsa making his competitive debut, bravely took the game to the hosts early on but failed to create any clear-cut chances, apart from a run and shot from Humberto Suazo which flew wide.

Riquelme, whose last game was in the 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the Copa America in July, had Argentina's best effort with 25-metre shot in the seventh minute before firing them ahead 20 minutes later.

Maxi Rodriguez and Carlos Tevez both went close for Argentina before Riquelme struck again on the stroke of halftime.

Riquelme had a chance to complete a hat-trick of free kicks early in the second half but this time his shot flew high and wide.

After Alvarez's dismisal, Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was lucky not to be sent off as well when he escaped with a yellow card for rushing out of his area and upending Messi.

Riquelme rolled the resulting free kick to Messi, whose deflected shot hit the post.


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