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
Ribery slams Ballon d’Or vote
BAYERN Munich winger Frank Ribery has slammed the Fifa Ballon d’Or vote, believing the award to be destined for Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi...
Ugandan government to invest more in sports
President Museveni expresses government’s will in promoting sporting activities in Uganda as part of efforts to make sports one of the pillars of the country’s economy....
Nine new faces on national golf team as qualifiers end
National team captain Adolf Muhumuza and Uganda champion Willy Kitata had to dig deep to make it to the national side as the national team qualifiers ended Thursday at Kitante....
FUFA plots for AFCON  2019 qualification
Uganda’s football federation (FUFA) has started to map a way forward for the national football team’s Nations Cup qualifying prospects ahead of the 2019 Nations Cup finals...
South Africa to axe goalie Keet after howler
SOUTH Africa are set to goalkeeper Darren Keet for their crucial Africa Cup of Nations Group C match against Senegal in Mongomo on Friday...
Scorpion Group: Kyebando thrash Kasse to extend lead
Kyebando FC maintained a strong grip at the top of the Scorpion Group of the Uganda regional league after a 3-0 win over Kasse FC on Wednesday....
Should local leaders arrest parents who oppose UPE?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter