International friendly: Argentina held to a 0-0 draw in Romania
Argentina's stars failed to find a way through a resilient Romania outfit in a surprising goalless draw in Bucharest.
Last Updated: 05/03/14 10:08pm
Argentina's attacking stars failed to find a way through a resilient Romania outfit in a surprising goalless draw in Bucharest.
Despite the much-vaunted trio of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero starting up front, the South American side drew a blank against the underdogs, with Barcelona's Messi conspicuous by his lack of influence on the game.
With less than 100 days to go until the World Cup, boss Alejandro Sabella may be slightly concerned that a team that may well be his first choice XI in Brazil struggled to break down a side that failed to qualify for this summer's extravaganza.
They tried to assert their authority from the kick-off, but despite the envious trio they had in attack, it was defender Jose Basanta who had the first chance when headed over from a corner kick.
Angel Di Maria then played through former Real Madrid team-mate Higuain and the Napoli striker should have done better after being thwarted by Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Anton Tatarusanu.
At the other end, Romania served notice that they were not content to simply sit back and defend as striker Ciprian Marica's header forced visiting custodian Sergio Romero to tip over.
Romero then made an excellent save to keep out Alexandru Maxim's close range header, while at the other end, Manchester City talisman Aguero burst past four Romania defenders only to produce a wasteful final ball.
Aguero continued to cause a nuisance of himself after the break by taking the ball past half-time substitute goalkeeper and City team-mate Costel Pantilimon before his strike was blocked on the line by defender Florin Gardos.
Sabella's side continued to pour forward, with Inter Milan striker Rodrigo Palacio firing wide following an excellent delivery into the area from Marcos Rojo.
Paris Saint-Germain frontman Ezequiel Lavezzi was introduced to the action late on in place of Higuain but he was denied by a tremendous save by Pantilimon to ensure a goalless stalemate.