Lionel Messi gets decisive assist as Argentina beat Uruguay in second Copa América match


Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina beat Uruguay to move into top place in Group B and take a crucial step towards a spot in the Copa América quarterfinals after an initial draw against Chile placed them under pressure ahead of the second game.

Argentina got off to a good start, scoring from a short corner when Lionel Messi beat Lucas Torreira, found some space, and sent a beautiful cross to Guido Rodrguez, who headed it home off the post.

Messi ➡️ Guido Rodriguez

Argentina takes the early lead 🇦🇷

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— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2021

Argentina’s plan was simple after scoring the game’s first goal: give Uruguay the ball, stay strong at the back, and try to end the game on the counter. Uruguay is usually great when it comes to defending and counter-attacking, but they have struggled in the past to maintain possession and break down opponents.

The backline was a lot more solid after Lionel Scaloni made four changes to his defensive system, with striker Rodrguez performing an outstanding job in front of the defenders. Despite having Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani on the pitch, Uruguay struggled to create for the rest of the game, and Emi Martnez did not have to make any crucial stops in the second half.

Argentina didn’t score a second goal to seal the victory, but Messi and the attackers did an excellent job of holding the ball in their half to keep the time ticking. The final whistle blew, and Argentina had won owing to a fantastic team effort.

They just need three points from their next two games to advance to the next stage, and finishing in the top two in the group would be essential in avoiding Brazil and/or Colombia in the Final Eight. On Monday, Paraguay plays, and a win there might allow Scaloni to rest Messi, who appeared weary in the dying minutes of the previous game against Bolivia.