Sport
Di Maria's last-gasp winner breaks Swiss hearts
Publish Date: Jul 01, 2014
Di Maria's last-gasp winner breaks Swiss hearts
Argentinas players celebrate their win as Switzerlands team react after losing their Round of 16 football match
  • mail
  • img
newvision

SAO PAULO- Angel Di Maria's extra-time winner kept Argentina's World Cup dream alive on Tuesday as they scrambled into the quarter-finals with a dramatic 1-0 win over Switzerland.

Argentina had failed to muster much by way of chances but just two minutes before the penalty shoot-out, Lionel Messi picked out Di Maria for his priceless strike.

Switzerland's midfielder Gelson Fernandes (L) and Switzerland's midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri react after their loss. All photos/AFP

Switzerland nearly grabbed an equaliser at the death when Blerim Dzemaili's header cannoned off the foot of the post and he sent the rebound wide of the goal.

The final result was greeted with an ecstatic roar by the Argentine-dominated crowd as the Albiceleste headed for a last-eight clash with Belgium or USA, who play later.

Although cruel for the Swiss, it provided a memorable swansong for their celebrated coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who is quitting football and learned of his brother's death not long before the match.

Switzerland's midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri reacts after losing

The game started cagily but the closely guarded Messi carved Argentina's first opening when he glided into the box and crossed behind the defence.

Messi's glorious flick of the boot left two defenders standing on the right wing but there were nothing more than half-chances in the first 20 minutes.

It was Switzerland who nearly scored when Shaqiri wriggled into the box and found Granit Xhaka, whose solid shot was blocked on the line by goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Switzerland had an even better chance when Josip Drmic found himself one-on-one with Sergio Romero. But his attempted chip was painfully gentle and lobbed gently into Romero's hands.

Switzerland's midfielder captain Goekhan Inler (L) and Switzerland's midfielder Valon Behrami react after their team lost

Soon after the break, Drmic let another golden chance slip when Shaqiri picked him out in the box, but this time he fired well off-target.

Argentina, getting little change through the middle, switched to pumping in crosses and it nearly paid off when Higuain's header was tipped over the bar.

Higuain failed to connect properly with another cross from the right, before Messi struck one from distance which flew narrowly over the top.

Switzerland's players react after losing to Argentina

Argentina had their best chance when Messi's cross found Rodrigo Palacio, who had just come on for Lavezzi but he could only glance his header wide.

With extra-time looming and the crowd growing tense, Messi went at the defence with a short, jinking run and shot which was smothered by Swiss 'keeper Diego Benaglio.

Tempers flared and referee Jonas Eriksson intervened when Messi tangled with Valon Behrami, and appeared to shove him to the ground. But the Argentine captain escaped without a caution.

Switzerland's goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, helps up defender Fabian Schaer after their loss

Despite being under pressure, the Swiss had a chance for a last-minute winner. But from a deep free-kick, defender Fabian Schaer couldn't keep his header on target.

Extra-time arrived and with it more tension as the 63,000 fans nervously watched an increasingly timid Argentina, while Switzerland became more and more bold.

Switzerland's goalkeeper Diego Benaglio lies on the pitch after their loss

Shouts of "Ole, ole!" rang out with each Swiss pass and Shaqiri railed at referee Eriksson when he inadvertently got in the way and prodded a short pass of his own.

Argentina regrouped for the second period of extra-time and Di Maria nearly broke the deadlock when his rasping shot was palmed away from the top corner by Benaglio.

Argentina players celebrate after qualifying for Quarter Finals

Switzerland looked to be holding out for penalties -- a dangerous game as, although Behrami was shackling Messi, Di Maria saw another shot deflected wide.

And their defence finally crumbled when Palacio won the ball in midfield and fed Messi, who ran forward and found Di Maria who this time made no mistake with his left foot.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Ex-Lugogo boxing gym turned into Fitness Centre
What was formerly the Lugogo boxing gym is to be transformed into a general Fitness Centre, which will among other things, serve as the base of the national boxing tem....
Kampala run to save Hoima’s Bugoma forest
There will be no gold or silver or bronze medals after the race dubbed “Run for Nature 2014” on September 7 in Kampala....
Uganda Volleyball Federation suspends Muhangi
The Uganda Volleyball Federation (UVF) has suspended Sport-S volleyball club director Warren Muhangi from all volleyball activities for disrespecting the federation on social media....
Rwanda appeal CAF disqualification
The Rwanda Football Federation on Tuesday appealed against its disqualification from 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for fielding a player with double nationality....
Sports admissions need to be revised!
It was one of those programs applauded right from inception. Launched in 1998, the Scholarships for Talented Sportsmen Scheme in public universities, was aimed at aiding outstanding sports talents academically....
UNF delegates clash with their leadership
There was drama during the Netball Extra- ordinary Assembly at Lugogo when delegates denied having received a notice informing them of a constitution amendment....
Will strict traffic laws reduce road accidents?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter