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Uruguay, Argentina in World Cup qualifier stalemate

Montevideo (AFP) – Luis Suarez returned from injury but Uruguay were forced to settle for a point in a 0-0 stalemate with Argentina in their World Cup qualifying duel on Thursday.

Barcelona superstar Suarez was given the all-clear to play for the Uruguayans after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from an injury to his right knee cap two weeks ago.

However the striker was unable to conjure a breakthrough for Uruguay against an Argentina team playing their first competitive match under new coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Argentina dominated the first half with Gabriel Mercado rifling an early shot over the bar.

Marcos Acuna also had Uruguayan hearts fluttering only to shoot over in the 27th minute.

Edinson Cavani almost created a goal for the hosts 31 minutes later, pouncing on a defensive slip near halfway and feeding Suarez.

Suarez looked up and attempted an audacious lob from 40 yards as Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero backpedalled, only for the ball to fly just over.

Argentina star Lionel Messi had the best chance of a hardfought second half, only to see his freekick turned around the post by Fernando Muslera.

The result means Argentina remain one place off the top four automatic spots in South America’s marathon qualifying competition. However the Argentinians are level with fourth placed Chile on 23 points.

Uruguay are in third place overall with 24 points from 15 games.

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