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2017 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Sergio Ag├╝ero (86')

Sergio Aguero goal sees Argentina to victory in Russia friendly

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Russia 0-1 Argentina: Aguero snaps scoring drought (2:07)

Sergio Aguero ended a run of eight games without a goal for Argentina to lead La Albiceleste past Russia. (2:07)

Sergio Aguero left it late to fire Argentina to a 1-0 international friendly victory over future World Cup hosts Russia in Moscow.

Jorge Sampaoli's Argentina, boasting a number of world-class players including Manchester City striker Aguero, Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria, were restrained by Russia and their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for 85 minutes.

But their commitment to continuing to turn the screw despite a series of disappointing misses paid dividends in the final moments as Aguero broke Russia's resolve with a firmly planted header.

After a tentative start at the Luzhniki, Di Maria sparked Argentina into life by pinging Messi's layoff towards the Russian goal, where Akinfeev was well-placed to make a smart stop.

The long-serving Russia goalkeeper denied Argentina again in the 24th minute as Aguero shook off a handful of defenders to aim for the bottom corner.

Dmitriy Poloz proved that Russia were up for the game by firing just wide of Sergio Romero's goalmouth after connecting with Konstantin Rausch's back-heeled pass, but Argentina soon regained control.

Di Maria came up short on a promising Messi pass after the half-hour and the latter soon came even closer when set up by Eduardo Salvio.

Argentina's best chance and Akinfeev's best save came two minutes before the break as the CSKA Moscow stopper somehow repelled a stinging volley from Aguero, who met Nicolas Otamendi's cross.

Shortly after the restart Messi sneaked into the six-yard box but his attempt to flick the ball over Akinfeev and in was foiled by Rausch.

Denis Glushakov kept Argentina on high alert with a right-footed shot that was not too far away and, on the hour mark, he took several swipes at the ball with Romero left stranded and sprawling.

Di Maria, so wasteful in the first half, was rather unlucky to see his next effort deflected out for a corner by a Russian shirt and City defender Otamendi had a header saved by Akinfeev.

Argentina felt increasing frustration but with it came more determination to get a result. With five minutes remaining, Aguero obliged with a header from close range after his initial strike was parried.

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