Diego’s Argentina in a spot of bother | sports | Hindustan Times
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Diego’s Argentina in a spot of bother

Paraguay reached their fourth successive World Cup finals and plunged Argentina into further disarray with a 1-0 win in their qualifier on Wednesday.

sports Updated: Sep 10, 2009 23:20 IST

Paraguay reached their fourth successive World Cup finals and plunged Argentina into further disarray with a 1-0 win in their qualifier on Wednesday.

Striker Nelson Haedo scored just before the half hour to secure Paraguay’s place in South Africa next year, sending Diego Maradona’s 10-man team crashing to a third successive qualifying defeat and their fourth loss in six qualifiers.

Paraguay climbed to second in the South American group on 30 points, with only goal difference separating them from leaders Brazil, who have a home game against Chile later on Wednesday.

Argentina, in grave danger of failing to qualify, dropped out of the top four automatic berths, their place taken by Ecuador. They occupy fifth place which would send them into a two-leg playoff against the CONCACAF’s fourth-placed team.

“I’m not afraid of the critics,” Maradona said. “I will keep on going and do my work.

“Paraguay played very well with Cabanas and Haedo. They kept the ball from us (up front) and we couldn’t resolve that in the first half.”

Haedo exchanged a one-two with midfielder Edgar Barreto in a flowing attack that scythed through the defence before striker Salvador Cabanas set him up to score with a low shot past keeper Sergio Romero and inside the far post.

Argentina lost Juan Sebastian Veron, one of their better players in a poor team performance, eight minutes into the second half when he was sent off for a high tackle.