Qualifying Stage
  • Lucas Biglia (20')

Lucas Biglia scores to give Argentina first WCQ win over Colombia

Argentina claimed their first win in 2018 World Cup qualifying against Colombia at the Metropolitano Roberto Melendez stadium.

Lucas Biglia's first-half strike was enough to give the Albiceleste a 1-0 triumph -- their first win at the fourth time of asking on the road to Russia.

It was also only their second goal in four games, but that result now catapults Argentina up to fourth and back into contention in the fledgling campaign.

Colombia, meanwhile, remain just outside the qualifying berths after suffering their second defeat in the opening four games.

Gonzalo Higuain returned to bolster an Argentina side that was a lowly ninth in the standings going into the clash in Barranquilla.

But Colombia, who had an extra day to prepare, seized the early initiative and threatened to add to Argentina's woes.

James Rodriguez, who scored the equaliser in Thursday's 1-1 draw at Chile after missing the opening two qualifiers, had the first sight of goal in the third minute but his ambitious strike from the edge of the area drifted wide.

That was as close as the hosts got to making their early control count and as a result the visitors were able to grow into the contest.

Napoli forward Higuain had their first attempt after 13 minutes, but he perhaps showed rustiness as he blazed over from close range.

Lazio midfielder Biglia had no such trouble soon after. The 29-year-old profited from Ezequiel Lavezzi's superb burst down the right to tap home into an empty net after 20 minutes.

Lavezzi's probing run drew Colombia keeper David Ospina off his line and with the hosts' backline scrambling Biglia was left with the simplest of tasks to open the scoring.

Colombia continued to toil and could have gone further behind just after the restart, with Ospina doing well to deny Ever Banega's drive.

As the second half wore on the Colombians tried to force the issue, but they only registered their first shot on target in the 69th minute.

Edwin Cardona was the man who finally tested Sergio Romero, but the Argentina keeper was hardly troubled by his long-range effort.

Paulo Dybala hit a post for Argentina late on, while Luis Muriel was twice denied in stoppage time as Los Cafeteros searched for an equaliser but it was too little too late.