Argentina vs Venezuela: Messi magic set to unfold in Kolkata

first_imgIt might be just an international friendly, but both Argentina and Venezuela mean serious business going into Friday’s encounter at the Yuba Bharati Kriranagan in Kolkata.While Argentina would want to give Alejandro Sabella a winning start to his coaching campaign, Venezuela would once again want to prove to the world that their feat at the recently concluded Copa America was no fluke but a result of sheer hard work.Lionel Messi’s first match as captain would only raise the level of expectations from the player often considered only half as effective in his national colours compared to what he does while playing for Barcelona.The fact that these two teams meet on October 11 in a World Cup qualifier match only raises the significance of Friday’s game.As stated time and again by Sabella, Argentine fans want nothing but a win every time the national team takes the field and the level of expectation would be huge going into the much publicised as friendly.If the pressure from staunch supporters back home wasn’t enough, they will have the majority of the football fanatics present here gunning for them. After all, the city follows only two national teams in the world. One is Brazil and the other Argentina.Having made the bold decision to leave out striker Carlos Tevez on grounds of lack of match fitness, Sabella will be banking on the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.Sabella will most likely hold Messi back in the role of an attacking midfielder as he excels in the role of a playmaker.advertisementVenezuela coach Cesar Farias feels the team is doing really well and they were looking to finally make it to the coveted World Cup. Venezuela will bank on their talismanic captain Juan Arango.The 31-year-old midfielder is their most capped player. Getafe’s Nicolas Fedor and Salomon Rondon will also keep the Argentine backline on their toes.For Venezuela, it’s a win-win situation as they have nothing to lose. Not only are they the underdogs, but even the vociferous crowd would be supporting the Argentines. But one thing is for sure, considering the recent form shown by the side, Argentina wouldn’t dare to be complacent.Shops make a killingEveryone seems to be enjoying the Messi mania in Kolkata. If the roadside walls and billboards aren’t enough indication that Argentina is in town, a look at the BC Roy market – the biggest sports goods market – confirms that the football crazy city has gone berserk. The moment one enters the market, blue is all one can see. Not just Lionel Messi jerseys even Argentina flags and bandanas are selling like hot cakes.Shankar Agarwal, owner of Agarwal sports, feels Messi’s visit is a blessing in disguise for the sports shops as “prior to Durga Puja seldom one buys sports stuff but this time it’s different.”last_img read more