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South American rivals fire blanks in friendly showdown

SOUTH American rivals Argentina and Brazil played out a goalless draw in their international friendly in Cordoba on Wednesday.

Both sides were without many of their star names based overseas, with the game being played on a date not set aside by FIFA for international matches.

Argentina, under recently-appointed boss Alejandro Sabella, played the better football thanks to midfielder Hector Canteros and forward Juan Manuel Martinez, but Brazil had the best chances to score a winner.

Leandro Damiao hit the post in the 12th minute after being set up by Neymar, while the same player also struck the bar in the second half with Argentina goalkeeper Agustin Orion well beaten.

Argentina's best chance fell to former Wigan forward Mauro Boselli, but he fired narrowly wide while Juan Manuel Martinez also failed to find the target in the 33rd minute.

Both strikers were later forced off with injuries.

Argentina coach Sabella told Channel 11: "The first half was better than the second one. Unfortunately, our forwards became injured."

Augusto Fernandez added: "Brazil came here with great players and I think we played in good form. Maybe we did not have a lot of opportunities to score but they will come soon."

The return match will be played in a fortnight in Belem.

PA Media