Pumas end losing streak
Centre kicks all but five of Argentina's points en route to win
Last Updated: 15/11/08 8:23pm
Contepomi: Kicking king
Captain Felipe Contepomi led from the front as Argentina ended their four-match losing streak with ease in Italy.
The Leinster centre kicked 17 points of Argentina's 22 in an at-times less than inspiring game in Turin that featured just two tries and finished 22-14 to the Pumas.
Rafael Carballo ran in the only Pumas five-pointer in the 50th minute after fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez collected his own chip in the middle of the pitch to feed the winger.
And for the Azzurri, stand-off Andrea Marcato scored two penalties and a drop goal with full-back Andrea Masi running over a consolation try in stoppage time.
The result gives Argentina coach Santiago Phelan his second win since taking over after the World Cup - and with it, some much-needed breathing space.
The hosts pressured the scrum in the opening stages - and the Pumas were repeatedly penalised for collapsing - but Marcato failed to make the most of it, missing two penalties as well as a drop goal.
Contepomi eventually got some points on the board with a 25th-minute penalty only for Marcato to level five minutes later with another penalty conceded for collapsing the scrum, Contepomi soon finding two more kicks though to put Argentina 9-3 up at halftime.
The deficit had stretched to 12-3 thanks to another Contepomi effort when Marcato replied with a smartly taken drop goal.
But then Carballo stole into the limelight with his flash of magic - despite the Pumas being a man down following Rodrigo Roncero's sin-binning for an off-the-ball incident.
Marcato reduced the deficit with yet another penalty in the 54th, but Argentina were comfortably in control and even Masi's late try couldn't stop them avenging the 13-12 defeat they suffered at home to Italy in June.