LIVE: Argentina vs Paraguay

LIVE: Argentina vs Paraguay

Berizzo’s side must do more to bring their wide attackers into play, with both Kaku and Almiron combining for just one shot – which failed to hit the target. They must exploit Argentina’s tiring legs if they wish to pull a goal back, though with the lead the Albiceleste will no doubt sit deeper and deeper as the half wears on. Keeping the squad fresh will be Scaloni’s main focus, with the aging legs of Aguero, Di Maria and Alejandro Gomez very unlikely to go a full 90 minutes.

Despite six changes to the starting XI, Argentina have looked confident in the first half of their clash with Paraguay, leading 1-0 at the break thanks to Alejandro Gomez’s delightful chip at the 10th minute. Paraguay have been unable to use their pace to attack the flanks, with the Albiceleste doing a good job of cutting passing lanes and protecting their penalty area. Messi hasn’t been too involved in the build-up play, but the clever passing of Di Maria has – on more than one occasion – opened up the Paraguay defence. 

45′ + 2′ HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 1-0 PARAGUAY.

45′ + 1′ ARGENTINA SCORE BUT IT’S OFFSIDE! Di Maria’s initial shot is parried well by Silva, but he’s unable to get it out of harm’s way as it’s recollected by Argentina. Paredes feeds it to Alejandro Gomez on the left and his low cross is bundled into the net by Alonso, but an offside in the build-up means the match stays 1-0!

44′ The fourth official indicates one minute will be added onto the end of the first half for stoppages. 

42′ A free-kick in midfield is played short from Messi to Di Maria, who immediately looks up and fires a cross into the penalty area from the right. Pezzella gets to it first and puts a header on-target, but Silva stoops low to make the save.

40′ Kaku takes an outswinging corner to the middle of the penalty area for Gustavo Gomez, but it’s a defender who rises highest – clearing the ball out of the penalty area immediately.

38′ Paraguay are looking to keep possession with less than 10 minutes left, but the Argentina midfield has done a good job containing Berizzo’s side. They’re moving up the pitch slowly via a succession of throw-ins, but there are very few options for the man on the ball once it’s in play.

36′ Argentina and Paraguay have met 25 times at the Copa America. The Albiceleste have never lost to the Albirroja in the competition (W19 D6).

Argentina

34′ A reckless sliding challenge that takes down Avalos sees Paredes booked – the first card for an Argentina player tonight.

32′ Almiron’s rampaging run through the middle of the park is stopped on the edge of the 18-yard box by a wonderful sliding challenge from Pezzella, who wins possession in the process.

30′ A Paraguay corner taken short is then put in the penalty area looking for Gustavo Gomez, but again Cristian Romero is in the right position to make a clearing header.

28′ Messi is making his 147th appearance for the Albiceleste tonight, equalling the record for most caps held by Javier Mascherano.

26′ Espinola fires a shot from outside the penalty area high and wide after Kaku’s quickfire shot was closed down and blocked by Cristian Romero.

24′ Piris goes lunging into a challenge on Pezzella, who had vacated his spot at centre-back to push forward. It’s just a talking to for the physical midfielder, who surely won’t get another warning.

22′ The current result would be enough to see the Albiceleste go first in the group, two points in front of Chile ahead of their final match. The victory would also confirm the Albiceleste’s passage into the next round of the tournament.

20′ Paraguay’s first corner of the match is swung in from the right by Angel Romero, but Paredes is in the right position to get to it first to clear it away.

18′ MESSI COMES CLOSE! The Argentina number 10 opts to strike the set-piece low and hard, bending it around the wall in the process. It’s a great effort, but it fails to curl enough to nestle in the bottom corner, missing the target by inches! 

Paraguay

16′ Aguero is taken down by a strong Gustavo Gomez challenge right on the edge of the penalty area. The Paraguay captain had no chance to win the ball and is shown a yellow card for the infringement.

14′ Angel Romero sends the free-kick into the penalty area with his left foot looking for Avalos, but the striker’s header is popped straight up into the air for an easy Emiliano Martinez catch.

12′ Tagliafico takes Espinola down on the right flank with a mistimed challenge, giving Paraguay a chance to restore parity from a set-piece.

Argentina

10′ Di Maria has looked dangerous in the opening 10 minutes, cutting inside and playing passes through the defence. It works to perfection this time, as he’s credited with the assist! 

Argentina

10′ ALEJANDRO GOMEZ MAKES IT 1-0 ARGENTINA! It’s a lovely finish from the Sevilla player, who receives a Di Maria throughball inside the penalty area and chips the oncoming keeper with a deft touch!

8′ AGUERO PUTS IT OVER! Poor communication from Gustavo Gomez and Piris leads to both players attempting a header, causing them to collide inside the penalty area. Aguero picks up the loose ball on the penalty spot and looks to make the defence pay, but his swiveled shot is put onto the roof of the net!

6′ Alejandro Gomez winds up and fires a strike from well outside the penalty area with his left foot, sending it high of Silva’s goal.

4′ Paredes sprays a pass to the far side for Molina, whose first-touch pass is intercepted easily by Arzamendia at the near post.

2′ Di Maria cuts inside and looks to slip Messi through into the penalty area, but a heavy touch from the Argentina captain allows Silva to gather the ball.

1′ Argentina get the match underway from the kick-off! 

Paraguay make a single change to the line-up that beat Bolivia one week ago, as Mathias Villasanti is dropped for Cubas in midfield. 

Argentina make six changes to the XI that lined up against Uruguay, as Scaloni looks to freshen up the side that played three days ago. Otamendi and Acuna are rotated for Tagliafico and Pezzella, while De Paul and Lo Celso drop out of midfield for Gomez and Paredes. The attack sees another two changes, as Di Maria and Aguero are preferred to Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Gonzalez. 

PARAGUAY SUBS: Angel Cardozo Lucena, Gaston Gimenez, Omar Alderete, Fabian Balbuena, Richard Sanchez, Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Ortiz, Robert Rojas, Hector Martinez, Oscar Romero, Alfredo Aguilar, Braian Samudio.

PARAGUAY XI (4-2-3-1): Antony Silva; Alberto Espinola, Gustavo Gomez, Junior Alonso, Santiago Arzamendia; Adrian Cubas, Robert Piris; Kaku, Miguel Almiron, Angel Romero; Gabriel Avalos.

ARGENTINA SUBS: Gonzalo Montiel, Lisandro Martinez, Joaquin Correa, Julian Alvarez, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Dominguez, Angel Correa, Agustin Marchesin, Lautaro Martinez, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Franco Armani, Rodrigo De Paul.

ARGENTINA XI (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Nicolas Tagliafico, German Pezzella, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina; Alejandro Gomez, Guido Rodriguez, Leandro Paredes; Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi.

With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s take a look at how the two sides will be lining up – starting with Argentina! 

Paraguay started their tournament off on the right foot with a 3-1 victory over Bolivia, with both Angel Romero and Kaku finding the back of the net. The win for Eduardo Berizzo’s side was their first since beating Venezuela 1-0 in World Cup qualifying in October 2020, though in that time they’ve managed credible draws against both Brazil and Argentina.

Argentina successfully ended a streak of three straight draws last time out with a tight 1-0 win over Uruguay – good enough for second in the group behind Chile ahead of kick-off. The three points against Paraguay would guarantee Lionel Scaloni’s side a place in the next round, though Argentina have failed to beat tonight’s opponents in their last four meetings – a run that stretches back to 2015.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the Copa America fixture between Argentina and Paraguay!

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