Argentina’s poor start to the Copa America 2019 continued as Paraguay held them to a frustrating 1-1 draw.
Argentina, with another disappointing performance cut their chances to qualify as they stand last in their group with one match left. Argentina manager, Lionel Scaloni made four changes to the team which lost against Colombia. He started Lautaro Martinez, Rodrigo de Paul, Roberto Pereyra and M. Casco instead of Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Guido Rodriguez, and Renzo Saravia. The plan seemed to fail in the first half as Argentina struggled and couldn’t attack.
Paraguay’s Richard Sanchez broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after a perfect pass from Newcastle player, Miguel Almiron. Paraguay looked good at counter attacks and kept the Argentinian defence on toes throughout the match.
The second half saw Scaloni bringing Aguero in place of Pereyra, which gave Argentina attacking prowess. A Lautaro Martinez’s shot hit the crossbar and on the rebound Messi struck the ball firmly but Paraguay goalkeeper R. Fernandez got a hand on it to stop the ball. A penalty was awarded for a handball in the box by Paraguay’s Ivan Peris which no one on the pitch appealed for but was spotted by a VAR review. Lionel Messi converted the penalty and levelled the score in the 57th minute.
Only a few minutes later a foul tackle by Nicolas Otamendi earned Paraguay a penalty kick. Derlis Gonzalez’s shot was stopped by Franco Armani, giving Argentina hope to win.
Lautaro Martinez who played good upfront with Aguero and Messi was substituted with Di Maria and Argentina got back to the sleep mode. The match ended a draw with a scoreline of 1-1.
Argentina caretaker coach Lionel Scolani said “Our first half was not good, we played with desperation at times and we couldn’t control the play or create attacks. We had a very clear plan but couldn’t execute it as we kept losing the ball,” he told reporters.
“They scored with their first attack and that caused us a lot of uncertainty. For a team like Argentina, which feels like it always has to win, the first blow is hard to take, but we assured the players at halftime that it was just one goal.”
Argentina play Qatar next on Monday, 24/06, a loss here would eliminate the 14 time Copa America champions in the group stage. Paraguay will play the already qualified Colombia next on Monday.
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