Argentina vs. Colombia: Final score 0-0, more entertaining than the score indicates

Dennis Grombkowski

The referee altered the World Cup qualifier between Colombia and Argentina early, sending off a player for each team.

Argentina and Colombia will feel like they both could have won on Friday night, but given the close calls for both teams and the terrible officiating, neither team can be too displeased with a draw. Gonzalo Higuain and Cristian Zapata were both sent off early in the first half and the game was never the same, ultimately ending in a 0-0 stalemate. Splitting the points helps both teams inch closer to a World Cup berth, and both should still be in the top four at the end of the round.

Higuain had multiple chances to score before he was sent packing by referee Marlon Escalante. David Ospina stopped him in a one-on-one situation in the 8th minute, then denied him off a bad clearance by Carlos Sanchez in the 17th minute. Sergio Aguero had a great follow-up chance after that second save, but hit the crossbar with his header when it would have been easier to score.

In the 26th minute, Zapata and Higuain got into a scuffle where they both kicked out at each other. Instead of warning both players, the referee opted to show zero tolerance for their actions and showed a straight red card to both.

Colombia suffered a bit of a setback in the 33rd minute, when star wide man James Rodriguez pulled up lame. He signaled for a substitution immediately and was replaced by Juan Cuadrado on the wing. Colombia finished out the half without making any further subs, but brought on defender Luis Perea for striker Jackson Martinez at halftime, replacing the spot vacated by Zapata.

Aguero had a pair of goals disallowed in the first half, one of them controversially. He had no argument against the goal that was disallowed for offside in the 54th minute, but was incensed with his 71st minute effort being waved off. While Aguero himself was not offside when the ball that led to his goal was played in, the referee ruled that Messi -- who did not start the game due to a hamstring problem but entered in the 60th minute -- interfered with play before the ball arrived at Aguero's feet.

The rest of the second half was wide-open and chippy, but no one came closer than that to scoring a goal, and both teams will leave the Monumental satisfied with a point.

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