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Diego off to perfect start

Diego Maradona could not have asked for a better result in his first official match as Argentina coach, with his team crushing Venezuela 4-0 in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

sports Updated: Mar 29, 2009 23:07 IST

Diego Maradona could not have asked for a better result in his first official match as Argentina coach, with his team crushing Venezuela 4-0 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi set Argentina on their way to victory in this 2010 World Cup qualifier with the first goal on 26 minutes after a 1-2 with Carlos Tevez.

He then provided the cross that led to Manchester United striker Tevez doubling the advantage two minutes after the break. Maximiliano Rodriguez and Sergio Aguero, father of Maradona's grandson, completed the rout with goals in the 51st and 73rd minutes.

This was Argentina’s 16th win over Venezuela in as many meetings, and Maradona described the outcome as “better than expected”. “Reality has overcome fiction,” added the Argentine football legend who was adding this to friendly wins away to France and Scotland.

It pushed Argentina up to second in the South America section of qualifying for South Africa next year, four points behind Paraguay.

US rally to 2-2 draw

San Salvador: Jozy Altidore started the comeback in the 77th minute and Frankie Hejduk scored the tying goal in the 88th as the United States rallied to draw with El Salvador 2-2 in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

El Salvador built a 2-0 lead against the Americans before a boisterous crowd of 30,500 at Estadio Cuscatlan on goals by Eliseo Quintanilla in the 15th and Crisian Castillo in the 72nd. Brian Ching had a chance to win it for the United States seven minutes into injury time but was stopped on an open bicycle kick by defender Mardoqueo Henriquez. The United States leads the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region with four points heading into Wednesday's qualifier at Nashville, Tennessee against Trinidad and Tobago, which rallied at home to draw with Honduras 1-1.