Argentina beats Mexico 6-5 on penalties

Argentina beat Mexico 6-5 on penalties and will play world champions Brazil in the Confederations Cup final.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Argentina beat Mexico 6-5 on penalties and will play world champions Brazil in the Confederations Cup final after their semi-final ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time on Sunday. A poor match which only flickered briefly into life at the very end of 90 minutes finally tipped Argentina's way in the shoot-out after the first 10 penalties were all converted. Cambiasso strikes Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso came up with the winner after Mexico defender Ricardo Osorio's effort was saved by Argentina keeper German Lux. This ill-tempered semi-final had to be decided by spot kicks after the sides were deadlocked at 1-1, Carlos Salcido putting Mexico ahead in the 14th minute of extra time, with Luciano Figueroa levelling six minutes later. The game was scarred by the first red cards of the competition, with Argentina's Javier Saviola sent off in the 90th minute and Mexico's Rafael Marquez following him off the pitch in injury time. Tight defences Mexico, missing defender Aaron Galindo and midfielder Salvador Carmona, who were sent home in disgrace on Tuesday after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolene, welcomed back Marquez. But the Barcelona star's first major imprint on the game was not a positive one – a cynical tackle on Javier Saviola in the 21st minute securing him his first yellow card. The first half was evenly balanced as stoic work by both sets of defences meant goalscoring opportunities were thin on the ground. Argentina had to wait until one minute before the break for their best chance when only Mexico midfielder Gonzalo Pineda's quick reflexes denied Juan Sorin's close range shot into an open goal. Mexico had earlier come close to breaking the midfield deadlock with Argentina keeper German Lux only able to deflect Sinha's shot behind his line for a corner. Ten minutes into the second half and Mexico nearly took the lead. Zinha's effort from 18 yards out had German Lux beaten, but not the woodwork. Saviola gets red card Into stoppage time and Argentina were reduced to 10 men with Javier Saviola given marching orders for kicking out at his opponent. He was joined three minutes later by Mexico's Rafael Marquez, the defender getting sent off for his second bookable offence. The deadlock was finally broken in the 104th minute. Mexico's Carlos Salcido, showed some deft skills that took him past two Argentina defenders. His final shot took a deflection to beat German Lux in goal. But it wasn't too be. Argentina levelled six minutes later, a scrappy goal from Luciano Figueroa. But it counted and that's what mattered. Now the Argentines will prepare for the final against Brazil.
(With wire inputs)