Argentina bests Bosnia in soccer exhibition

Sergio Aguero scored twice and was feisty as well drawing the lone yellow card in a 2-0 exhibition victory for Argentina over Bosnia.

Sergio Aguero scores twice for Argentina

Argentina's Sergio Aguero, centre, is congratulated by teammates Marcos Rojo, left, and Rodrigo Palacio after scoring during the second half of an international friendly soccer match against Bosnia Monday in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

Argentina will end the year having not allowed a goal in its last two matches.

There was enough offence without Lionel Messi to win the finale, and frustrate a partisan crowd, too, on Monday night.

Sergio Aguero scored twice and was feisty as well drawing the lone yellow card in a 2-0 exhibition victory over Bosnia.

"He's one of the best in the world playing on one of the best teams in the world," manager Alejandro Sabella said. "When Messi's playing, it's easier for us."

In the first game after Messi was sidelined with a left hamstring injury, the two-time World Cup champions settled for a scoreless tie against Ecuador.

Argentina outshot Bosnia 5-1, so Sergio Romero wasn't pressed in the shutout against a country that's a first-time World Cup qualifier for next year.

"We'll take it as a good experience and get better soon," Bosnia forward Edin Djeko said. "It's going to take time."

Djeko was among a large group of Bosnian players wearing St. Louis Cardinals caps as they left Busch Stadium.

"It could have been a bigger difference," manager Susic Safet said. "I'm not that disappointed. My players played as well as they could."

St. Louis has a large contingent of people from Bosnia and the Argentinians were booed from the moment they stepped onto the field for warmups.

This was the third exhibition of the year in St. Louis and second at Busch, including a stadium record of more than 48,000 for Manchester City vs. Chelsea in May. That made it the second trip for Aguero, who also plays for Man City.

"It was an honour to play on the same field as the World Series," Aguero said through a translator. "I enjoy scoring — anything to help us win."

World Series logos were clearly evident on the turf, three weeks after the Cardinals dropped Game 5 to the Red Sox in the city's final baseball game of the season.

An estimated 70,000 Bosnians relocated to the Midwest from the former war-torn Yugoslavia.

Thousands showed up for the friendly wrapped in flags and wearing team scarves, plus a boisterous bleacher contingent lighted flares late in the second half.

Attendance was 30,397 for a game that carried lowered crowd expectations given the time of the year. Parking was $15 at the nearest multi-level garage, half what it cost for Game 5 of the World Series.

Bosnia has a player with local ties — forward Vedad Ibisevic starred at Roosevelt High and Saint Louis University. Ibisevic had perhaps the Bosnians' top chance when he shot just wide from the top of the box in the first half.

Aguero has a pair of goals in four World Cup qualifiers. He banged in a rebound in the 39th minute after Bosnia goaltender Asmir Begovic charged out to stop Rodrigo Palacio and then collided with the shooter, and caught a stretch pass from Maximiliano Rodriguez in stride to make it 2-0 in the 66th minute.

Aguero got the yellow card in the 59th minute when he kicked Emir Spahic in the back at the end of a play.


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