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Palermo Goal Puts Argentina Into World Cup Spot PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 October 2009

Substitute Martin Palermo struck two minutes into stoppage time to give Argentina a 2-1 victory over Peru in a dramatic finale to their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

The victory keeps alive Argentina's hopes of qualifying for the 2010 finals as they climbed into fourth place in the South American group before their last qualifier away to Uruguay on Wednesday. The top four go through to South Africa.

Uruguay are in the fifth-place playoff berth after beating Ecuador away.

New cap Gonzalo Higuain put Argentina ahead two minutes into the second half from Pablo Aimar's through ball and as driving rain became steadily worse at the Monumental, Peru equalised in the final minute through substitute Hernan Rengifo.

But Palermo had the last word when he turned in a low ball from the right in a packed area as Argentina threw everything at their opponents in search of the winner.

t was the 35-year-old's third goal in two internationals after scoring two in a friendly against Ghana on Sept. 30.

Peru would not have been unworthy of a draw, giving a second-half performance that belied their position at the bottom of the group and out of the finals.


Argentina were constantly under threat after halftime when, from a corner, defender Juan Manuel Vargas volleyed from 25 metres and keeper Sergio Romero managed to tip the ball onto the bar and over.

They had another scare after Higuain's goal when Romero blocked a shot and the rebound fell to Luis Ramirez only for left back Emiliano Insua to block with his body. The referee waved away Peru's claims for a penalty.

Argentina had yet another scare when Peru broke on the right and a shot went across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.

With Lionel Messi marked tightly on the right of the attack, Argentina were most dangerous on the left flank in the first half with Angel Di Maria, back from suspension, giving defender Amilton Prado a torrid time and linking well with Higuain.

Twice in the space of two minutes midway through the half Higuain was close to beating keeper Leao Butron at the near post from low crosses by Di Maria.

Di Maria also crossed low from his wing across the face of goal five minutes before halftime with Higuain sliding in from the right but just failing to make contact from a metre out.

Messi was close with a free kick and a shot that skimmed past the top of Butron's goal but when he tried to weave his way through the massed Peruvian defence he made little headway.


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