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Maradona makes hit debut

DIEGO Maradona made a dream home debut as Argentina coach when his side demolished Venezuela 4-0 in a 2010 World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires on Saturday while Uruguay and Colombia followed suit with home wins.

Uruguay beat South American group leader Paraguay 2-0 while Colombia ended a five-match goal drought as it overcame struggling Bolivia by the same score.

Paraguay stayed top of the 10-team South American group with 23 points from 11 games while Argentina went second, four points behind. Brazil, third with 17, was visiting Ecuador, seventh with 12.

Uruguay moved into fourth place with 16 points, ahead of Chile on goal difference, and Colombia climbed to sixth on 14.

Lionel Messi inspired Argentina by scoring the first goal and setting up the second on a day which Maradona described as better than fiction.

Maradona, who began his reign with friendly wins away to Scotland and France, was given a rousing reception when he came onto the field before the game.

"This was better than I expected, reality has overcome fiction," said Maradona, who since retiring as a player has been treated for drug addiction, obesity and liver disease. "I couldn't have imagined what happened today. It was perfect."


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