May 20, 2009

Argentina defeated Panama 3-1 in an international friendly match at the stadium of Colon de Santa Fe on Wednesday.

Diego Maradona, the coach of Argentina, opted for a home-based side to confront the match, looking ahead to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month.

Los Albicelestes started the stronger of the two sides, and they came close to scoring early through Nicolas Otamendi and Jose Sand.

After applying much pressure, they finally went ahead in the 27th minute when Matias De Federico fired the ball into the right angle of the goal.

But the visitors replied with the equalizer only two minutes later when Nelson Barahona beat Argentine goalkeeper Diego Pozo with a good finish.

Argentina, who were thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia in their last outing, began to play some good football after conceding the goal, and it seemed just a matter of time before they would score again.

Six minutes before the half-time break San Lorenzo striker Gonzalo Bergessio put Argentina in the lead for a second time with an unstoppable header.

Maradona made three changes during the break, which included bringing on Velez Sarsfield defender Emiliano Papa, who featured in the World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

Argentina dominated much of the half, but they couldn't make the most of the goal-scoring opportunities they created.

Not only did Bergessio hit the post with a header, but Colon striker Esteban Fuertes missed a clear chance.

But in the 84th minute Bergessio sealed Argentina a 3-1 victory with a firm crossed shot with his left boot after a good pass from Daniel Montenegro.

At the conclusion of the match Maradona stated that he "loved" the way his team played, even if they struggled for moments.

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