MOSCOW – Argentina defeated Russia 1-0 on Saturday in a friendly match held at this capital’s renovated Luzhniki Stadium, one of the 2018 FIFA World Cup venues.
Forward Sergio Aguero scored the winning goal just four minutes before stoppage time.
Argentine head coach Jorge Sampaoli praised the Manchester City forward, saying that he was “decisive” in the match despite the little space his players were offered during the game.
“(Aguero) had one close chance in the first half and three shots in the second half, including the goal,” he stated at a press conference following the game.
Russian goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev, who stymied numerous goal-scoring chances throughout the match, stopped Aguero’s initial strike but the striker headed the ball home off the rebound.
Argentina did not shine during the inaugural match at the stadium, which is scheduled to host the opening and final World Cup games.
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi did not play at his usual level for the Albiceleste but still competed hard and helped set up Aguero’s goal.
Argentina is set to play another friendly against Nigeria on Nov. 14, while Russia’s next friendly will be against Spain on the same day.