Home-based Argentina defeat Ghana
© AFP

Martin Palermo led Argentina to a 2-0 friendly win over Ghana as Diego Maradona's side prepare for the culmination of their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign.

Boca Juniors' record goalscorer gave Argentina a two-goal lead by half-time as the Albiceleste sought an impressive win in Cordoba despite playing with a domestically based squad. Palermo, who turns 36 next month, captained Argentina and opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a volley, after a Luciano Fabian Monzon cross from the left.

Eleven minutes later, the attacker headed a cross from his club team-mate Federico Insua to widen the gap over the Africans, who have already booked a berth in the FIFA World Cup finals. In the second half, Argentina coach Maradona made six substitutions to field debutants such as Jesus Mendez, Juan Insaurralde, Luis Rodriguez, Rodrigo Brana and Osvaldo Nicolas Gaitan.

Argentina dominated the match and deserved at least one more goal, while their goalkeeper Diego Pozo had very little job to do at the Estadio Olimpico Chateau Carreras. Milovan Rajevac's Ghana players, meanwhile, made some tough fouls that forced Chilean referee Enrique Osses book Ofosu Appiah, Kofi Boakye and Frank Boateng.

Argentina are now focused on their final two South Africa 2010 qualifiers against Peru (home) and Uruguay (away), on 10 and 14 October respectively. The South Americans lie fifth in the CONMEBOL Qualifying Zone, a play-off position to play a CONCACAF nation to progress to the South Africa.

Palermo, thanks to his superb form on Wednesday night, may gain a place in the starting XI to play Peru at the Estadio Monumental.