Messi magic mesmerises fans, Argentina beat Venezuela 1-0

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Lionel Messi
Kolkata, Sep 3:  Lionel Messi weaved his magic though without scoring as he played full 90 minutes to enthrall the football-crazy fans in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Venezuela in a FIFA international friendly at Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Friday.

The 120,000 capacity stadium did not see a packed house, a common sight during the local Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal derby but it had enough Messi elements for a real treat for the nearly 75,000 spectators at the venue and many more on television across the country and abroad.

Messi sparkled throughout the match, though Venezuela kept the Argentines under pressure. It was in the second half, a 67th minute goal by Nicolas Otamendi from a Messi corner that sealed the issue for the Argentines.

The Argentine approach was more restrained in the first half as new coach Alejandro Sabella, in his maiden appearance at the helm of affairs for the Albicelestes, gave more stress on the ball possession and passing.

They dominated the midfield, with some magical Messi footwork but failed to translate into goals as the final pass or the shot was lacking.

But the spectators had a lifetime of a treat with some real Messi moments.

Early into the start, the spectators were left mesmerised by a clever Messi footwork off a foul at the top of the box but the FC Barcelona talisman could only found the wall from his powerful left-footer in the fourth minute

Five minutes later, Argentina got the first real chance but the Real Madrid medio Agnel D''Maria nearly put it in the goal before an alert Venezuela defender averted the danger. It also had the Messi element in it as the little genius nearly had it through Di Maria but only in vain. 

PTI

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