Iceland frustrate Argentina in Moscow

Iceland frustrate Argentina in Moscow
epa06813019 Birkir Bjarnason (R) of Iceland in action against Lionel Messi (C) of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group D preliminary round soccer match between Argentina and Iceland in Moscow, Russia, 16 June 2018.

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Jun 16, 2018. 17:22

Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland in their opening Group D match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Spartak Moscow Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result sees both sides walking away with a point apiece whilst the second match of the group sees Nigeria facing Croatia on Saturday night.

It was the Albiceleste who had an upper hand and piled on the pressure as they looked to bag an early goal.

Luonel Messi forced a strong punch from Hannes Halldorsson from the d-line in the 17th minute.

The Icelandic defence remained solid until the 19th minute when Sergio Aguero’s great turn was followed by a rocket which hit the roof of the net giving the keeper no chance, 1-0.

However, Alfred Finnbogason ensured his side remain in the game when he pounced on a loose ball in the box to beat Wilfredo Caballero in the 23rd minute, 1-1.

Despite their dominance in possession and final third entries, Jorge Sampaoli’s men could not find a second goal before half time.

The South Americans continued to invade the Icelandic penalty area and were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute when the referee spotted a push.

Skipper Messi stood up to take it, but was denied by Halldorsson who guessed correctly to keep the scores level.

It was all Argentina in the last 10 minutes and Messi attempted a curling shot from distance, but the Barcelona man could not beat Halldorsson on his right corner.

Iceland stood firm at the back to deny the South Americans a win as they bag their first point in their maiden appearance at the tournament.

Argentina: (1) 1 (Kun Aguero 19’)
Iceland: (1) 1 (Finbogasson 23’)

Argentina: Caballero, Tagliafico, Biglia (Banega 53’), Messi, Di Maria (Pavon 75’), Meza (Higuain 84’), Mascherano, Marcos Rojo, Otamendi, Salvio, Kun Aguero

Iceland: Halldorsson, Saevarsson, R. Sigurdsson, J. Gudmundsson (Gislason 63’), Bjarnason, G. Sigurdsson, Finnbogason (Sigurdason 88’), Arnason, Gunnarsson (Skulason 76’), Magnusson, Hallfredsson

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