World Cup qualifiers: After all, these men live for their shirt, says Argentina coach

Updated: Nov 17, 2016, 12:55 IST | PA Sport

Coach Edgardo defends his players after Argentina end four-match winless streak with 3-0 win over Colombia to put World Cup campaign back on track

Edgardo Bauza
Edgardo Bauza

San Juan (Argentina): Edgardo Bauza leapt to the defence of his Argentina players after they beat Colombia 3-0 to end a four-match winless streak and put their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.

A 3-0 thrashing at the hands of rivals Brazil last week left Argentina sixth in the South American qualifying table, with only the top four guaranteed a place in Russia.
But Lionel Messi put in a star turn, scoring a stunning free-kick and creating the other two goals, as La Albiceleste leapfrogged their opponents with a commanding display in San Juan.

'Players are first to work'
"I never felt that the players had any problems. They were always very close to me," said Bauza. "These players always want to win and are the first to get to work. These players live their lives for this shirt and they will keep doing it," he added.

Argentina's Angel Di Maria (left) celebrates a goal with teammate Lionel Messi during the World Cup qualifying match against Colombia in San Juan, Argentina, on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Argentina's Angel Di Maria (left) celebrates a goal with teammate Lionel Messi during the World Cup qualifying match against Colombia in San Juan, Argentina, on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

Nicolas Otamendi headed a Messi free-kick over the bar early on, but the Barcelona forward soon took matters into his own hands as he curled in a 25-yard effort on 10 minutes which clipped the bar on its way in.

Radamel Falcao headed over James Rodriguez's free-kick and Argentina capitalised on that let-off as Lucas Pratto headed home Messi's cross from the right in the 23rd minute.

Angel di Maria hit the post in the second half but eventually got his name on the score sheet after 84 minutes, with Messi again the provider as he cut the ball back for the PSG forward to fire into the roof of the net.

"It was not an easy match. I'm happy because the players deserved this victory," added Bauza.

'Messi is just impossible'
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman felt Messi was the difference between the two sides. "I'm very sorry for the way they gave away the first two goals. Messi in this form is impossible, because he makes a remarkable difference. We started the match well and if we had converted then it could have been a different story.

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