Football: Argentina's Sergio Aguero leaves it late to sink Russia

Argentina's Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring a goal during an international friendly football match between Russia and Argentina at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Nov 11, 2017.
Argentina's Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring a goal during an international friendly football match between Russia and Argentina at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Nov 11, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - A late goal from Sergio Aguero unlocked a stubborn Russian defence as Argentina showed their intent ahead of next year's World Cup with a 1-0 win over the tournament hosts on Saturday (Nov 11).

The goal by the Manchester City forward set the South Americans on their way to a well-deserved win at Moscow's renovated 81,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium which will host next year's final.

Argentina, orchestrated by Lionel Messi, seized the initiative early on but their first meaningful chance came in the 21st minute when Angel di Maria received Messi's pass in the area but Russian 'keeper Igor Akinfeev parried his low shot for a corner.

Three minutes later, Aguero forced Akinfeev into a diving save to deny his attempt from just outside the box.

Akinfeev was the hero of the first half as he produced another impressive save after Aguero's powerful shot from inside the box.

After the interval, Argentina continued to dominate possession and kept Russia's defence under constant pressure but failed to find the net before the 86th minute.

Aguero broke the deadlock when he headed in a rebound from his own blocked shot after a sharp break down the right wing and low cross from Cristian Pavon.