Fabricio Coloccini

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini helped Argentina to a clean sheet on Wednesday night - returning to the international scene following a two-year absence.

Coloccini last pulled on the white and sky blue stripes in August 2010, but the centre-half came back into the fold to win his 35th cap on Wednesday as La Albiceleste recorded a goalless friendly draw against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

And the 30-year-old put in an impressive 90-minute shift at the heart of his nation's backline, particularly midway through the second half when cleared off the line to prevent Yasser Al Qahtani giving the hosts a shock lead.

Elsewhere, Shane Ferguson was deployed as a left-winger as Northern Ireland secured a last-gasp World Cup qualifying 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan.

Trailing for much of the contest in Belfast following Rauf Aliyev's early effort, David Healy struck home a free-kick deep into stoppage time to earn the Irish a Group F point.

Tim Krul was an unused substitute for Holland's friendly against Germany in Amsterdam, Cheick Tiote also failed to make it off the bench as Ivory Coast ran out convincing 3-0 winners away in Austria, and the Davide Santon suffered the same fate as Italy went down 2-1 at home to France in Parma.

Missing for Les Bleus was Magpies midfielder Yohan Cabaye, while Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were not involved in Senegal's friendly in Niger.