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Argentina's Zubeldia to coach Ecuador's Quito League

Argentina's Zubeldia to coach Ecuador's Quito League QUITO, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Argentine coach Luis Zubeldia has been tapped to coach Ecuador's Liga de Quito football club for the 2014 tournament season, the team announced Tuesday. The club, one of the leading teams in the country, said via Twitter it was hiring Zubeldia to replace fellow Argentine Edgardo Bauza, who will continue to coach the team until the end of the current season in December. The Argentine coach is expected Thursday in Quito to close the contract.

Argentina, without Messi, held 0-0 by Ecuador

(Reuters) - An experimental Argentina, playing without injured captain Lionel Messi, drew 0-0 with fellow World Cup finalists Ecuador in a friendly at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Friday. Ecuador's Antonio Valencia had his side's best chance with a header that hit the post while Argentina came closest with a volley two minutes from time by substitute Maxi Rodriguez that also came back off the woodwork.

Merlo bolsters Racing return with second successive win

By Rex Gowar BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Not for nothing is there a statue of Reinaldo Merlo, nicknamed Mostaza (mustard) for the color of his hair, outside Racing Club's headquarters. Merlo was the last man to steer Racing to the Argentine league title in 2001, ending a 35-year wait, and he is back apparently disproving the generally accepted adage that a returning coach rarely brings new success.

Pope torn over who to support for Italy-Argentina friendly

Pope Francis joked with Italy and Argentina players on the eve of a friendly football match in Rome on Tuesday, saying he was torn over who to support. "It's going to be difficult for me, it's lucky it's a friendly match! And let's make sure it is one," the Argentine pontiff said in a private meeting, which journalists listened to over the speakers in the Vatican's press room. The players, along with Italian coach Cesare Prandelli and Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, met the 76-year-old at the Vatican before Wednesday's game at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

Football: Martino sees Messi input in Barca move

Gerardo Martino on Tuesday credited Lionel Messi with having had input in Barcelona's decision to appoint him as coach in place of Tito Vilanova. After Vilanova resigned last Friday due to ongoing health problems, the 50-year-old Martino comes in from Argentine outfit Newell's Old Boys - where Barca superstar Messi started out before moving to the Catalan club in his early teens. Martino indicated Messi and his father had had an influence. "It took me by surprise (but) I have no doubt that Jorge (Messi) and Lionel were involved.

Football: Martino set to take over at Barca - reports

Former Newell's Old Boys and Paraguay national team manager Gerardo Martino is set to become the new Barcelona coach, numerous sources in the Spanish media reported on Monday. It is expected that the Argentine will arrive in Barcelona on Tuesday to sign a three-year deal with the Catalans, who have moved quickly to replace Tito Vilanova after he was forced to resign on Friday due to on-going ill health.

Argentina held by Ecuador, Colombia edge closer

Argentina's hopes of sealing qualification for next year's World Cup were thwarted in a 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Tuesday as Colombia took a massive stride towards the finals in Brazil with victory over Peru. The Argentines, who once again left Lionel Messi on the bench, had to settle for a point after Segundo Castillo cancelled out Sergio Aguero's early spot kick for the visitors at the Olympic Stadium in Quito.

Football: Argentina await Messi for crunch Colombia clash

Argentina can all but secure their place at the 2014 World Cup finals in neighbouring Brazil with a win in Friday night's qualifier against Colombia at River Plate's Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. However, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella was still waiting on the eve of the game to see whether Lionel Messi would be fit enough to take his place in the starting line-up.

Relegation woes worry toothless Argentinos Juniors

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentinos Juniors, staring into the jaws of relegation, have had a set of false teeth thrown at their coach by an angry fan while the club's president has quit his seat at the Argentine FA. An irate fan threw a set of dentures at coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi during Monday's 3-1 home defeat by Belgrano that left Argentinos bottom of the "Final" championship standings.

Football: Argentina suffer scare in Bolivia, rivals stumble

Argentina suffered a scare before coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Bolivia as 2014 World Cup qualifying rivals Colombia slipped up against Venezuela on Tuesday. Argentina had been thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia when the sides last met in the thin air of La Paz in qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. Another upset looked on the cards on Tuesday when Bolivia striker Marcel Martins headed the home side into a 25th-minute lead.
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