Argentina hope to win in humid Colombia

BARRANQUILLA (Colombia) • Troubled Argentina will look for a victory against Colombia today like the one four years ago that launched them on the road to the 2014 World Cup final.

Argentina return to the hot and humid Caribbean port city of Barranquilla desperate for a win after their worst start to a World Cup qualifying campaign with two points from three games.

They stand second-bottom of the 10-team South American group, seven points behind leaders Ecuador who have nine.

In November 2011, former manager Alejandro Sabella's side arrived at the Metropolitano stadium with four points from three matches, fresh from a humiliating 1-0 defeat in Venezuela.

Down 1-0 at half-time, and a man short, Argentina completed a comeback victory with goals from Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

"Now, again, we're obliged to win in Barranquilla," said midfielder Javier Mascherano after Argentina's 1-1 draw at home to Brazil gave Gerardo Martino's side their second point.

The difference this time is that neither Messi nor Aguero will feature, and Colombia are a better side, having reached the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup.

Radamel Falcao was Colombia's danger man then. Now, their main threat comes from forward James Rodriguez, who equalised in their 1-1 draw away to Chile on Thursday.

Martino said: "Colombia away is not going to be same game as Brazil. We will try to take control of the game but I believe we will face a team that is going to attack more."

Argentina's clash against Brazil took place only on Friday due to heavy rain, affording Colombia an extra 24 hours of rest.

The visitors will also have to contend with the heat, which can top 30 deg C and which Colombia try to benefit from by staging the match in mid-afternoon.

But Colombia, sixth in the 10-team South American table, will also be missing key personnel.

They will be without Atletico Madrid striker Jackson Martinez (ankle) as well as defensive duo Carlos Sanchez and Santiago Arias, who are unavailable due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'Argentina hope to win in humid Colombia'. Print Edition | Subscribe