Argentina held by Ecuador 1-1 in World Cup qualifiers

June 16th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, June 16 (DPA) Ecuador upset Argentina with a 1-1 draw in the South American qualifiers for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa. However, things could have been much worse for Argentina, two-time World Cup winner, since Rodrigo Palacio only made things 1-1 three minutes into injury time in the second half here Sunday.

Ecuador had pulled ahead with a long-distance goal from midfielder Patricio Urrutia in the 68th minute and then sought to defend its advantage by retreating into its half of the pitch. Palacio’s goal denied the Ecuadorians the full prize.

Argentina is now set to travel to Brazil - who lost 2-0 in Paraguay Sunday - to play its arch rival Wednesday in Belo Horizonte.

Palacio stressed the Argentines will go to Brazil “looking for a good result,” while Lionel Messi was more explicit.

“Now more than ever we need the points,” he said. “We have to go there to win.”

Of the game against Ecuador, Messi noted that the host team “knew it would be this hard” and complained that the state of the pitch at El Monumental stadium in the Argentine capital did not help their efforts.

Argentina stand second in the qualifiers, with 10 points in five games. Ecuador remain far from positions that give access to the 2010 World Cup, with four points, and are set to host Colombia Wednesday.

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