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Earlier change helps Argentina beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-1

English.news.cn   2014-06-16 10:02:47

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 15 (Xinhua) -- World Cup favorites Argentina beat the tournament's debutants Bosnia & Herzegovina (BIH) 2-1 in their Group F opener here on Sunday.

An early own goal, made at two minutes and eight seconds by BIH defender Sead Kolasinac, gifted Argentina 1-0 lead.

BIH coach Safet Susic said after the match that he felt regretted at the own goal. "It was a misfortune. I hope we will be lucky in the next game against Nigeria."

It was the fastest own goal in World Cup history, beating Paraguay's Carlos Gamarra (2:46) in 2006.

Messi whipped in a free-kick which was flicked on by Marcos Rojo to the back post. Kolasinac failed to readjust his feet in time and touched the ball to the back of the net.

It was also the third own goal made in the ongoing Brazil World Cup. The first one was scored by Brazilian defender Marcelo in the tournament's opener against Croatia. Ironically, that was the first goal of this World Cup. Honduras goalkeeper contributed the second in the match against France which Honduras lost 3-0.

Playing for FC Schalke 04, Kolasinac, 21, is the youngest player on the pitch tonight.

Argentina paid more attention to defense in the first half and the attacking relied just on Messi, Aguero and Di Maria.

The BIH played more aggressively but missed several great scoring chances.

At the start of the second half, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella made changes first, sending in midfielder Fernando Gago and forward Gonzalo Higuain. The two substitutions shifted Argentina's formation back to 4-3-3 that they are more familiar with.

In the 65th minute, Messi roared with his trademark goal. He picked the ball up after a one-two with Higuain, dribbled with expert close control past Bicakcic and slammed a perfectly accurate side-footed finish in off the post.

Sabella told the post-match press conference that his team played differently in the first and the second half.

"We controlled the game in the first half, but that was not enough. We needed more depth, so I made some changes in the second half," he noted.

"The first match of a World Cup is always difficult. We just do something else from the beginning, just to complicate the opponents. Messi is the best player in the world, and he got more support from his teammates," he added.

After 70 minutes, Susic fielded in Stuggart striker Vedad Ibisevic, who pulled one back on 86 minutes.

Lulic found space on the edge of the Argentina box and passed a through ball to Ibisevic whose low shot found the net through Argentine keeper Sergio Romero's legs.

If Ibisevic could have more playing time, the BIH four-man frontline, Edin Dzeko, Ibisevic, Misimovic and Pjanic would have broken Argentine defense effectively.

Misimovic, who plays for Chinese Super League side Guizhou Renhe, posed a major threat to Argentine defense, but Dzeko squandered many chances.

Except the goal and the freekick resulting in the own goal, Messi did not show his top form tonight. The whole Argentine team played in low efficiency in the first half but rallied in the second.

The Man of the Match, Messi said after the game that he would try to play his best in the upcoming games.

The two teams met once before in a friendly in the United States last November when Argentina won 2-0.

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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