Argentina kicked off the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup with a comfortable 2-1 win over Tunisia in Cologne. Goals from Villareal’s Juan Riquelme and Monaco’s Javier Saviola were enough to kill off the spirited though limited African champions.
The North Africans started as firm underdogs but Dominoqq took the game to the twice World Cup winners in the opening minutes, backed by the noisy drums and chants of their expat support in the half-full Rhein-Energie Stadion.
The Tunisians, coached by Roger Lemerre, the man who led the French to the most pathetic defence of a World Cup in Korea three summers ago, gave Argentina an early scare in the fifth minute when Imed Mhadhbi’s flick released Haykel Guemamdia who left Fabio Coloccini for dead before before Mario Santana intervened with a last-ditch tackle.
Soon the Argentinians were in control, and Saviola as a roaming predator was causing problems, blazing over after seven minutes and denied by the advancing Khaled Fadhel five minutes later.
Real Zaragoza’s Luciano Galletti shold have given them the lead in the fourteenth minute from a Juan Sorin cross but powered his header over the crossbar.
Despite the territorial possession exerted by the South Americans, Tunisia still looked sharp on the break and one such counter on the 17 minute mark brought them a penalty as German Lux, the only home-based player in Argentina’s squad, brought down Guemamdia.
The 23-year old Tunisian striker, who is on his way to Nantes next season, casually loped up to the spot before languidly swiping the ball a good two yards wide of the post, to the consternation of the Tunisian fans and the hilarity of the Argentinians.
The rest of the half saw Argentina maintain possession and Tunisia looking for the counter-attack, …