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D'Alessandro inspires Argentine comeback 3-2 win at uruguay
( 2003-08-21 09:29) (Agencies)

Substitute Andres D'Alessandro inspired a late comeback from Argentina as they came from behind twice to beat South American rivals Uruguay 3-2 in an entertaining friendly international in Italy on Wednesday.

Argentina's Pablo Aimar (R) challenges for the ball with Daniel Lembo of Uruguay during their international friendly match in Florence August 20, 2003.[Reuters]
After Manchester United striker Diego Forlan had given Uruguay a second-minute lead, his former club team mate, Chelsea midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron brought the Argentines level just before the break with a thundering free kick.

Uruguay substitute Martin Liguera restored his team's advantage in the 57th minute and Juan Ramon Carrasco's side looked to be heading for a surprise win until Walter Samuel headed in a D'Alessandro cross in the 81st minute and then D'Alessandro grabbed the winner with five minutes remaining.

The performance of D'Alessandro, who plays in Germany with Wolfsburg, will give Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa some thinking to do ahead of the start of the South American World Cup qualifiers in September.

Until the introduction of the little playmaker and Barcelona striker Javier Saviola in the 64th minute, Argentina had lacked a creative edge in the final third of the field, relying instead on the forages and long-range efforts of Veron.

But while disappointed to have let victory slip from their hands, Uruguay can take much heart from what was an enterprising and positive display.


Carrasco fielded an adventurous formation with three strikers and attacking midfielder Alvaro Recoba, and his bravery was rewarded when his side went ahead in just the second minute.

The lively Ernesto Chevanton picked out Forlan with a defence-splitting pass which Forlan confidently fired home from the edge of the penalty area.

Such an attacking line-up inevitably left plenty of room in midfield though and it was Argentina who were able to make the most of the open spaces.

Diego Milito, impressive with his forceful runs on the right flank, fired wide in the 17th minute and two minutes later forced a save out of Uruguay keeper Gustavo Munua with Hernan Crespo unable to keep down his header from Munua's parry out.

At the other end, Uruguay went close to adding a second when towering striker Sebastian Abreu's firm header was pushed round the post by Pablo Cavallero.

The game lost rhythm and grace due to a series of petty fouls in midfield but it was a late challenge on Hernan Crespo on the edge of the Uruguayan penalty area that allowed Argentina to draw level on the stroke of halftime.

Veron's thundering low drive which flew into the bottom corner of Munua's goal gave the midfielder his second goal in a week following his debut strike for Chelsea at Liverpool on Sunday and sent his team in on equal terms at the interval.


The second half started with Veron going close with another free kick, a long range effort that curled just over the crossbar, but Argentina fell behind again in the 57th minute.

After a swift exchange of passes, Abreu found substitute Martin Liguera unmarked inside the Argentine area and the little playmaker coolly side-footed passed Cavallero.

After Veron forced a fine save out of Munua with yet another dead-ball shot, Bielsa withdrew the shaven-headed midfielder along with Claudio Lopez and threw on two of the bright young hopes of Argentine football -- Saviola and D'Alessandro.

It was Wolfsburg midfielder D'Alessandro who inspired the late turnaround -- when a corner came back to him on the left wing he fired over a wicked cross which central defender Samuel met with a rocketing diving header.

Four minutes later, D'Alessandro linked up well with Pablo Aimar and running on to a return pass provided a quality finish worthy of winning a game which was a treat for the Italy-based South American fans in Florence.

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