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Argentina v Venezuela Live Commentary, 06/09/2017

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R. Feltscher (54 og)
J. Murillo (50)
Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti


That's all for our live coverage, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
Back to the drawing board for Argentina who fail to break into the automatic qualifying spots as they are held in Buenos Aires by an already eliminated Venezuela side. Argentina dominated for long stretches, but Venezuela goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez stole the spotlight from Lionel Messi as the Albiceleste have their work cut out for them heading into the final two qualifiers next month.
FARINEZ UP TO THE TASK! Messi provides a brilliant throughball for Pastore, but the Venezuela keeper is up to the task! What composure from the 19-year-old Farinez who has been superb tonight! That might have been their last chance...
Argentina can breathe the slightest sigh of relief as Martinez lifts his free-kick over the bar. It's small consolation, however, unless the hosts can nab a late winner.
N. Otamendi
Yellow Card
Otamendi is late on a challenge and goes into the book here as he breaks up a threatening move from the visitors. Tensions high in Buenos Aires, and the crowd has gone silent. They can hardly believe what's unfolding in front of their eyes.
There will be five minutes on at the end of this match...
J. Velázquez
S. Córdova
Defender Jose Manuel Velazquez, who crafts his trade with Veracruz in Mexico, replaces Cordova for the final minutes.
Everyone forward for Argentina now. They are not wanting to settle for a point. Acuna continues to make waves down the left and he wins the hosts a corner here, but they will have to wait to take it as Venezuela have prepared their final change.
Argentina can hardly muster a whimper in attack as the clock ticks down. A draw tonight would put considerable amounts of pressure on them for the final two matches in October, home to Peru and away to Ecuador. The impossible, Argentina missing out on a World Cup, is slowly becoming a possibility...
STAT: Argentina have never drawn or lost a match against Venezuela on home soil.
Josef Martínez
S. Rondón
The fifth change of the match sees Martinez come on for the injured Rondon here, who hands over the captain's armband.
Rondon pounds the turf in frustration as he goes down in a lot of pain here. Josef Martinez is up and looks set to replace him, but this is definitely a blow for Venezuela and Rondon, who has put in one great shift tonight.
This home support is starting to turn on Argentina. The groans follow every move that breaks down for the hosts, and there's been a lot of them lately. Venezuela are looking awfully comfortable as they aim to leave Buenos Aires with a result, but there's still work to be done.
J. Colina
Y. Herrera
A change for Venezuela here as Juan Colina replaces Herrera.
J. Pastore
M. Icardi
Pastore replaces Icardi with Argentina's final change.
STAT: This is the 24th all-time meeting between the two nations. Argentina have won 21 of the previous 23, with Venezuela only winning once, a 1-0 victory in October 2011 in Barcelona, Venezuela.
Argentina need to dig deep. This is the time they need their experienced leaders to take charge and rally the troops. Time is still on their side so it's important they don't panic. Meanwhile, it looks like Javier Pastore is readying himself to come on.
STRAIGHT INTO THE WALL! That had to be better from Rondon! Wasted opportunity as he tries to hit a low effort under the wall, but sees his effort blocked. That's a big let off for Argentina.
L. Acosta
Yellow Card
SHOULD HE BE OFF? Acosta lunges into the back of Rondon on the edge of the area, just outside the box, and as the last defender, he should surely be off? Instead it's a yellow card and another free-kick in a dangerous area for the visitors.
A solid break sees Venezuela win a free-kick in an excellent shooting position, but Rondon's effort from 25 yards is straight at Romero.
Venezuela showing plenty of fight themselves, though. They're not about to lay down and concede this match. They're here to play spoiler and they're doing just that at the moment. They aren't looking to settle for the draw, either.
STAT: Argentina have scored 15 goals in their last four World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela on home soil.
D. Benedetto
P. Dybala
Argentina make their second change of the night as Dario Benedetto replaces Dybala, earning his first international cap.
What drama in Buenos Aires! A place in Russia 2018 hanging in the balance for Argentina and this second half has lived up to the hype! The fans are still upset over the referee's decision not to award the penalty, but Argentina are marching on.
NO PENALTY GIVEN! Incredible! Icardi has a clear as day case for the spot-kick here but he's denied! The striker broke free behind the defence before being tripped up, and still made an honest to goodness effort to stay on his feet before finally going to ground. Wow.
It's really game on now! A draw isn't enough for Argentina, who need the full three points to climb into the qualification spots. That was a big goal to break their scoreless drought, but they need to keep the momentum going now.
STAT: Venezuela have won just one of their last 16 World Cup qualifiers, 5-0 at home to Bolivia in November (D5, L10).
R. Feltscher
Own Goal
THERE'S THE LEVELLER! It's the quick response Argentina so desperately needed! Acuna with a terrific run down the left as he bursts into the area and fires in a low cross, which Villanueva turns into his own net! Little he could do about that, though, with Icardi hot on his tail.
What a turn of events! After such a dominating display, Argentina trail the bottom feeders in South American qualifying! This crowd has been patient, but they're voicing their displeasure now! There's almost a sense of disbelief around the ground - and can you blame them?
S. Córdova
Cordova provided the decisive ball to play Murillo through, and has been credited with the assist.
J. Murillo
THAT WASN'T IN THE SCRIPT! Venezuela, with just one win in qualifying, lead in Buenos Aires! A giveaway in midfield springs a break and Murillo finishes expertly after being played clean through on goal!
R. Feltscher
Yellow Card
Feltscher becomes the fifth Venezuela player to be booked.
Argentina begin the second half on the front foot, but after a good spell in the attacking half Venezuela break encouragingly on the counter and win a free-kick high up the pitch. Tension building here...
Here we go again!
Tensions were high in the Argentina camp following their goalless draw in Montevideo, and now they have run into a seemingly unbeatable keeper in Buenos Aires as Venezuela's wunderkid Wuilker Farinez has almost single-handedly kept this game scoreless through 45 minutes. Plenty of work to be done for Argentina in the second half.
INCREDIBLE! Farinez produces another great save to parry Messi's effort from 20 yards! What do they have to do to beat him tonight?!
There will be two minutes added on at the end of the first half.
A. Figuera
Yellow Card
That's four for Venezuela now as Figuera goes into the book. What are the odds on them finishing this match 11 v 11?
J. Chancellor
Yellow Card
Chancellor is booked. That's three Venezuela players who have seen yellow in this first half.
Dybala is fouled atop the area - right on the edge of it - and Messi lines up the subsequent free-kick. Everyone is locked in in anticipation, but the final effort from Messi drifts harmlessly wide of the far post. They can't buy a goal!
STAT: Only Bolivia (14) have scored fewer goals in South American qualifying than Argentina (15).
Murillo goes down with a head injury and the referee takes a while to stop play, which rightfully upsets the Venezuela players. Approaching the interval now and frustration is building in the Argentina side.
Blocked! The ball squirts out to Messi atop the area in a great area for a shot, but he can't sort his footing - who would have though that possible? He keeps it alive, cutting inside on his left, but can't get his eventual shot through the crowd of bodies.
The match is being played entirely in the Argentina end now and these home fans are becoming restless. After such an incredible start, they failed to find a way past Farinez and now they're coming under pressure from a Venezuela attack that has sputtered their way through qualifying.
Argentina have spent such little time in defence that they're looking a bit rusty. A cross in for Rondon proves much harder to defend than it should have, and Mascherano scrambles it behind for a corner. This building would be silenced should Venezuela score.
We have reached the half-hour mark and Venezuela are starting to show some fight. They weathered the early storm, a long one at that, and are starting to gather a bit of momentum now. They're even enjoying a bit of possession in the attacking half.
M. Villanueva
Yellow Card
Villanueva becomes the second player to see yellow for Venezuela in this first half.
STAT: Argentina have won just two of their last eight World Cup qualifying matches, failing to score in four of them (D3, L3).
M. Acuña
Á. Di María
Di Maria has been superb through the opening 25 minutes, but his day is done as a result of injury, with Marcos Acosta on to replace him.
Big blow here for Argentina as Di Maria seems to have pulled a hamstring. He's in obvious discomfort, and though he's not keen to give way, he might not have much choice here.
LOOK AT HIM GO! Farinez, the highly touted 19-year-old keeper, produces another great save to deny Dybala from in close this time! Argentina are all systems go, but Farinez is proving one piece to the puzzle they cannot solve!
This match resembles more of a training ground routine for Argentina, who are having their way with Venezuela for the time being. That being said, the longer the visitors keep the match scoreless, the more confidence will build for them and frustration will brew for Argentina.
STAT: Venezuela are winless in their last 10 World Cup qualifiers away from home and have been outscored 27-7 over that span (D2, L8).
The opening 15 minutes have been played entirely in the Venezuela half, as they get pinned deeper and deeper in their own end. There's no way out for them at the moment. They have Farinez to thank for keeping it scoreless, but you get the sense that an opener is coming.
É. Banega
Yellow Card
Banega is booked now as Venezuela finally get a bit of respite. Two yellows in 14 minutes, one for each team.
NEARLY IN! What a goal that would have been! Absolutely stunning passing! A lovely dink from Messi over the top finds Di Maria, who volleys it across the face of goal, but it's just inches ahead of Icardi!
Utter domination from Argentina who have shown the urgency they need to open this match, though they still have nothing to show for it. Herrera commits another foul here, too, and he's going to have to be very careful having already been booked moments ago.
Y. Herrera
Yellow Card
Herrera had a few hacks at Messi there and sees yellow. For which challenge exactly doesn't matter, have your pick.
All but the finish! Stunning work down the left flank from Di Maria who quite incredibly gets by three Venezuela defenders before picking out Icardi in the centre, but the striker is unable to find his way past Farinez!
AND ANOTHER! Farinez at it again, this time showing some stunning reactions to deny Dybala from point-blank range! It wouldn't have counted anyhow as the striker was a fraction offside, but that's another nice vote of confidence for the Venezuela keeper.
GREAT CHANCE! Mascherano carves the Venezuela defence apart like a hot knife through butter with a delicious throughball in for Icardi. The Inter striker finds himself clean through on goal, but Farinez gets off his line and denies him brilliantly!
Argentina desperately need a quick start and to get themselves off to an early lead. They come into the match in sixth place in the table after Peru's victory in Ecuador. The pressure is really on the Albiceleste.
AND THEY'RE OFF! Venezuela in their red strip as they get the match underway, attacking left to right.
There's three changes to the Venezuela side as well from their goalless draw against Colombia, as Darwin Machis, Tomas Rincon and Josef Martinez give way to Arquimedes Figuera, Junior Moreno and Jhon Murillo.
Jorge Sampaoli makes three changes from the goalless draw at Uruguay. Javier Mascherano, Lautaro Acosta and Ever Banega replace Gabriel Mercado, Marcos Acuna and Lucas Biglia. The attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala remains intact.
VENEZUELA (4-2-3-1): Farinez; Garcia, Chancellor, Villanueva, Feltscher; Figuera, Moreno; Murillo, Herrera, Cordova; Rondon.
ARGENTINA (3-4-3): Romero; Mascherano, Fazio, Otamendi; Acosta, Banega, Pizarro, Di Maria; Messi, Dybala, Icardi.
Venezuela have won just once through 15 matches in this qualifying campaign, so their visit to Monumental may be exactly what the doctor ordered for this reeling Argentina attack, as anything but three points would spell disaster.
Rumours of a rift between Sampaoli and star Lionel Messi were quickly refuted by the manager, who knows Argentina will be more dependent on Messi than ever over the final three matches if they are to punch their ticket to Russia 2018.
La Albiceleste’s struggles in front of goal continued last week in their goalless draw in Uruguay, which was far from the exciting start to Jorge Sampaoli’s tenure they were hoping for – only Bolivia have scored fewer goals than them in this South American qualifying campaign.
There is little margin for error for Argentina, who sit just below the four automatic qualification spots with three matches remaining, as they aim to catch the likes of Chile, Uruguay or Colombia.
Hello and welcome to the Monumental in Buenos Aires for live coverage of this World Cup qualifying match as Argentina play host to Venezuela!