Argentina’s one-nil win over Colombia, away at Barranquilla, was a much needed breath of relief for head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino whose Albiceleste squad had only managed two points in three games of CONMEBOL qualifying.
Argentina begun their road to Russia 2018 without the services star player Lionel Messi, sidelined with a knee injury, and a surprise defeat at home against Ecuador. On match day two Martino’s boys would hold modest Paraguay to a scoreless draw in Asuncion.
Despite mounting pressure and the injury of Ace striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero the Albiceleste managed to get a one-goal draw against rivals Brazil at El Monumental stadium. Having lost 5 points at home and with a minus two goal differential the match against Colombia would define Martino’s qualifying campaign.
“It was an oppressive climate and we arrived with one less day of rest. We could have played a bad game and not run as much. We did not do that. I know very well everything that would of been talked about had we not won today. I am very happy to see them play the way they did,” Martino said after the match.
“What’s important is the form in which the upstarts are playing, like Ramiro (Funes Mori) or (Gabriel) Mercado, what (Paulo) Dybala does when he enters the field. That gives me tranquility. The tranquility passes after having prolonged the result of what we managed to do against Brazil. Now, we expect to have a complete squad. And with the answers that we have been getting we will be fine,” assured Tata.
“It was our turn to support him because he always believed in us. He didn’t change his ideology even though we began to lose confidence. I hope this serves so that the critiques he received will only be that and nothing more,” said Lucas Biglia who scored the match winner in the 20th minute.
“We have to back up Martino. Nobody said that qualifying would be easy. Things got a bit complicated but we will be good,” finalized the Lazio midfielder. Argentina are currently in 6th place of CONMEBOL qualifying with 5 points and a -1 goal differential.