Colombia hold Argentina

Fancied teams made to fight in European qualifiers

Colombia hold Argentina

 Colombia climbed into second place in South America’s World Cup qualifying group after holding leaders Argentina 0-0 on Friday, while Chile did their chances of reaching the finals no harm with a win in Paraguay.

Colombia’s goal difference puts them above Ecuador, who lost 1-0 to Peru in Lima, while Chile hold fourth spot after beating Paraguay 2-1.

Venezuela clung to fifth despite giving away a late equaliser for a 1-1 draw against Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz.

Uruguay, who had a bye for this round of matches, dropped to seventh below Peru and visit Venezuela on Tuesday in desperate need of a win.

Argentina, starting without Lionel Messi, and Colombia served up a feast of attacking football at the Monumental in Buenos Aires with chances galore early on, but two red cards before half an hour was up changed the complexion of the game.

The dismissal of Gonzalo Higuain and Cristian Zapata for kicking out at each other affected Argentina more, leaving them without a striker in red hot form who almost scored two goals while he was on the pitch.

Argentina have a five-point cushion at the top of the nine-nation South American group with Colombia and Ecuador both on 20 points and Chile 18.

Ukraine shine

Ukraine dented Montenegro’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals for the first time with a stunning 4-0 win that blasted Group H wide open on Friday when the fancied teams were made to fight hard for their points.

Scotland, who have no chance of reaching next year’s finals in Brazil, epitomised the battling spirit shown by some of the underdogs with a shock 1-0 victory in Croatia where a Robert Snodgrass goal hit the hosts’ chances of topping Group A.

Russia, who led Group F after four straight wins, suffered their first defeat as an early Helder Postiga goal gave Portugal a 1-0 win.

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