Full Time: Argentina 1-1 Paraguay
Yet another tournament and yet again Messi and Co has made life difficult for themselves with a 1-1 draw against Paraguay in their second Group B match at the Copa America 2019 on Thursday (1:30 am BST) .
Their shock defeat in the hands of Colombia in Match Day 1 meant this was a must win fixture for the ‘La Albiceleste’. Unfortunately for them, Paraguay has always displayed stubborn resistance against ‘The White and Sky-Blue’ while facing them on the field.
Though it was a tough and physical fixture for Argentina from the start, they started as the brighter of the two sides pushing forward into the Paraguayan half. The first real chance of the match fell to Paraguay as Matias Rojas shot tested Argentain nerves; narrowly blocked by Tagliafico. But they didn’t have to wait long as Paraguayan forward Richard Sanchez gave Paraguay the lead in the 37th minute, firing into the bottom corner after a lung-bursting run from Newcastle forward Miguel Almiron down the left wing.
In search of fairer fortunes, Argentina began the second half by replacing Pereyra with Sergio Aguero and it was not long before it turned into a game changing substitution as the Manchester City forward squared a pass from the edge of the six yard box to Lautaro Martinez in the 51st minute who hit the crossbar on the volley. The ball then fell to Messi but the ‘La Albiceleste’ captain's shot was tipped away by Paraguay keeper Roberto Fernandez. Messi was preparing to take the resulting corner when the referee went to consult VAR (Video Assistant Referee) and then ruled that Martinez's shot had struck the outstretched hand of Peris thus awarding Argentina with a penalty.
Messi levelled the score on the 58th minute thus gearing his team for a comeback but soon their euphoria turned into dismay as Paraguay was awarded with a penalty of their own. Unfortunately for them Derlis Gonzalez's shot was saved by Argentain keeper Franco Armani, who was lucky to avoid a red card when he fouled Gonzalez outside his area at the end of the first half.
With two wins in two games, Colombia are at the top of Group B with six points closely followed by Paraguay with two points and tournament guest Qatar and Argentina with one point each. With Colombia securing qualification from the group, the second place is still up for grabs with the rest of the Group B teams still in the game.