After the upheaval of Sebastián Beccacece resigning and Jorge Sampaoli being fired, preparation for Argentina’s Under-20s ahead of the L’Alcúdia COTIF Tournament was less than ideal but Lionel Scaloni’s side secured a comfortable opening day victory with four goals against Venezuela.
A somewhat scrappy opening had seen Argentina struggle to create any clear chances but when the referee penalised Venezuela for holding at a corner in the 23rd minute it allowed Inter striker Facundo Colidio to open the scoring from the penalty spot.
The goal and Venezuelan defender Ignacio Anzola being shown a second yellow card soon after handed the initiative to Argentina and from there the result looked in no doubt.
Ten-man Venezuela actually started the second half brightly but a midfield burst by Newell’s Old Boys youngster Anibal Moreno rolled into the path of the lively Alvaro Barreal and the Vélez forward made no mistake tucking the ball past the goalkeeper.
The two-goal cushion saw goalscorers Colidio and Barreal along with Boca playmaker Gonzalo Maroni replaced by Alan Marinelli, Matías Palacios and Adolfo Gaich and almost immediately the substitutes forced a third.
Gaich latched onto an underhit backpass but couldn’t get round the keeper and his subsequent pass to Palacios saw the San Lorenzo youngster fire just wide.
However, Argentina didn’t have to wait long as Andrés Ayala split the Venezuelan defence with a delicate lofted pass and Gaich hooked the ball into the net.
Three more changes followed and another substitute added a fourth. Francesco Lo Celso, youngster brother of Giovani, escaped his marker with a fine first touch and fired a back post volley past the Venezuelan keeper.
Scaloni and Pablo Aimar could hardly have asked for more but greater tests lie ahead for the Under 20s. Argentina play Murcia on Tuesday, who defeated India earlier, but the Albiceleste already look on course to progress to the semi finals.
#TNTSports | Revivimos lo mejor del debut y triunfo de la Selección Argentina frente Venezuela con goles de Colidio, Barreal, Gaich y Lo Celso #COTIF2018 #Argentina 🆚 #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/4xOLJD654p
— TNT Sports LA (@TNTSportsLA) July 29, 2018