Argentina wins in Uruguay with Messi as a substitute

A prodigious left-foot strike from Ángel Di María at the beginning of the match mitigated the impact of Lionel Messi’s initial absence on the Argentina team, which won 1-0 on Friday during their visit to Uruguay and was on the threshold of the Copa del World.

“We adapt to the game that took place and that is a good sign as a team,” said Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni, who acknowledged that the Albiceleste did not play “so well.”

Paulo Dybala took advantage of an oversight by defender Joaquín Piquerez, who wanted to make a spout and ended up giving the ball away at the start. The Juventus midfielder touched Di María, who from the apex of the area executed a warped shot that placed the ball at the angle of the goal defended by Fernando Muslera.

“The key was Angel’s goal. They had it and they didn’t put it in, we were concrete and they didn’t ”, considered Scaloni.

The goal seven minutes into the match played at the Estadio Campeón del Siglo ended up being the key for an Albiceleste who chose to leave Messi on the bench, an unprecedented fact in Scaloni’s management.

Always reluctant to miss a game but marginalized from recent games with Paris Saint-Germain due to a hamstring ailment in his magical left-foot, Messi was not relegated to the role of substitute at the start of an Argentina game since 2016, in a qualifying match against Bolivia.

“We decided that he would not play because he came from inactivity and the type of game was going to be the one that took place and entered the second half so that he could catch up with Brazil,” said the Argentine strategist

Di María, his partner at PSG, scored the goal that paved the way for victory, although the Albiceleste team went through some harrowing episodes, even after Messi’s entry in the 76th minute.

Despite the fact that Uruguay insisted as few times in this tie, it could not pierce the Argentine network.

At the end of the match, Agustín Álvarez missed one of several clear options that those led by Óscar Tabárez had in the complement.

Argentina crosses the Río de la Plata with the loot of three points and 26 games undefeated. He consolidated in the second place of the tie. La Albiceleste accumulates 28 points, seven below Brazil, which the day before secured their ticket to Qatar.

The two teams leading the competition will meet on Tuesday in Argentina. It remains to be seen what FIFA determines with respect to the duel that both were playing in September but which was suspended when Brazilian authorities entered the field and affirmed that Argentine players had violated the sanitary protocols imposed in the midst of the pandemic.

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By goal difference, Uruguay would be out of the World Cup if the tie concluded today. La Celeste has 16 points, the same as Colombia, the current depository of the right to play a playoff, and Chile, the resurrected one that currently has a direct ticket to Qatar.

“We made defensive and offensive merits,” said Tabárez. “We limited them but it was not enough to get at least a draw”, which would have put Uruguay in fourth place.

The other team located in the automatic classification zone is currently Ecuador, third with 20 points.

At the height of La Paz, Uruguay will seek a result against Bolivia on Tuesday that will not lag further behind in the bidding.

After 1-0 the local team was nervous, without clear strategies in the midfield that would leave the ball at the feet of hopeful Luis Suárez.

In the first half the Uruguayan hard game prevailed, cutting the Argentine rhythm over the anticipation. But although the Albiceleste had the ball, they could not cross the Uruguayan lines.

The Argentines began to feel the pressure ahead of the midfield. Captained by Di María in the absence of Messi, they did not kick the goal again during the entire first half.

From thirty minutes on, Uruguay advanced en bloc, pressed, anticipated, overflowed and maintained firm marks, even with the defenders as participants in the attack. But without clarity.

Suárez had a clear goal situation that he hit in the vertical, it was the clearest. The Uruguayan team continued to surpass the folded Argentine lines with more tenacity than good footing. Matías Vecino had another missed opportunity in the 41st minute inside the area, which was covered by a very solvent Emiliano Martínez.

The second half began with the entry of Facundo Torres, one of the figures of the local Peñarol, by Brian Rodríguez. Uruguay continued to press for the ends with Nahitán Nández, willful but almost always imprecise.

After the seventy minutes, while Argentina seemed to recover the ball, confidence and attack, Messi entered, without time to make a difference and barely touching a few balls.

The game passed with a couple of startles on the arc of “Draw” Martínez.

Argentina repelled them and occasionally endangered the sky behind, the last one was a ball that Messi intercepted in the crescent but his shot went wide.

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