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Tevez provides sweet headache for Maradona

May 25, 2010

SOCCER-WORLD/Carlos Tevez has quickly gained the love of supporters wherever he has played, first at Boca Juniors, then Corinthians, now in the Premier League, with his never-say-die attitude added to considerable ball skills.

On Monday in Buenos Aires, he played as if he were facing Brazil in the World Cup finals and not Canada in a friendly. He chased and harried for 70 minutes, laid on the second goal in a 5-0 win for Maxi Rodriguez, passed to Angel Di Maria for his celestial third goal of the night and got on the scoresheet himself.

Tevez will provide Diego Maradona will a headache at the finals in South Africa fighting for a place in the starting line-up among a quintet of strikers good enough to get into any top international team in the world.

“Diego’s got to open his head. I know he has an idea for his team and (playing) system, but he has to open his head and try other options too,” Tevez said last week when the squad began their World Cup preparations.

Maradona, too, has admitted to the difficulty posed by a forward section in his squad that includes Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, the top two scorer in La Liga, Champions League winning striker Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero, who needed just a minute on the River Plate pitch to score the fifth goal on Monday.

“It’s tough leaving Carlitos out, eh,” Maradona was quoted as saying over the weekend.

Argentina’s fans left the Monumental stadium confident they have a team to fight for the title, regardless of any misgivings some may have about Maradona’s ability to coach them on the practice field and, more importantly, when the chips are down on the pitch.

Everyone know the quintet, and the far less skilled veteran Martin Palermo who provides the height in the forward section, had plenty of goals in them even if they struggled in the qualifiers to produce them.

The defence, on the other hand, was hardly tested by Canada and they will need to be as solid against Nigeria in Argentina’s opening Group B match in Johannesburg on June 12 as they were in the friendly against Germany in Munich in March.

First choice pair Walter Samuel and Martin Demichelis did not play against Canada having just arrived in Buenos Aires from the Champions League final in Madrid but Nicolas Burdisso and Nicolas Otamendi are good reserves though the bulk and speed of a Nigeria attack force are likely to determine on day one how Argentina will fare in South Africa.

PHOTO: Argentina’s striker Carlos Tevez tries to head the ball during their friendly match against Canada in Buenos Aires, May 24, 2010. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

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