(Reuters) — Argentina and Chile distributed points while Paraguay decisively defeated Bolivia on the second day of the 2021 Copa América.
The soccer teams of Argentina and Chile drew 1-1 on Monday with goals from Lionel Messi and Eduardo Vargas, in the debut of both teams in the Copa América in Brazil.
Messi scored the goal for Argentina in the 33rd minute through a free kick that beat goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, while “La Roja” achieved the equalizer in the 57th minute through a Vargas header after a penalty missed by Arturo vidal.
«We lacked tranquility. When we got ahead we couldn’t have it, we lacked control of the ball, playing faster. Afterwards, the penalty changed the game, ”Messi told Argentine television after equality.
“We wanted to start winning, because it was important to start with a victory. Now we have Uruguay that is going to be very even and complicated. They are two tough games to start this Copa América », added the captain of the Argentine team.
In the game played in Rio de Janeiro by Group A, Argentina assumed the leading role from the beginning, stopped in the opponent’s field and handled the ball in front of a rival who fell back waiting for the counterattack.
In the first minutes, the Albiceleste team easily brought danger to the rival goal through Nicolás González on three occasions, Messi and Lautaro Martínez.
After that adverse start, Chile found respite in the 26th minute with a run by Jean Meneses that ended with a cross shot that came out next to the second post.
The Argentine team’s goal came in the 33rd minute with a free kick from “Pulga” that entered the left post of Bravo’s goal, after an infringement by Erick Pulgar on Giovani Lo Celso near the area.
Five minutes later, Martinez wasted the opportunity to widen the gap with an imperfect shot off Bravo.
In the second stage, Chile came out to play with greater determination and reached equality in the 57th minute through Vargas, who took advantage of a rebound after a penalty taken at the request of the VAR that goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez stopped Vidal.
From equality, the game became more blocked and Chile began to control the ball, but Argentina gradually recovered the ball and added depth with the income of Angel Di María and Sergio Agüero, thereby pushing Chile against their goal in the final minutes.
A shot from outside the area by Messi and another by González brought danger to the rival goal in the final stretch of the match without being able to overcome Bravo.
Before the game, Conmebol paid a tribute to Diego Maradona, the soccer icon who died on November 25 at the age of 60. A show of lights, fireworks and special effects, together with images of the «Pelusa» race with the different shirts he wore in his career, illuminated the Nilson Santos stadium.
THANKS DIEGO! 🙏
Emotional tribute to the star Diego Armando Maradona 🇦🇷 at CONMEBOL #CopaAmérica 🏆
— Copa America (@CopaAmerica) June 14, 2021
In the next round of the group, which will be played on Friday, Argentina will face Uruguay in Brasilia, while Chile will face Bolivia in Cuiabá.
Paraguay makes its debut with a resounding victory against Bolivia
The Paraguayan soccer team turned an adverse result in the second half to debut with a resounding 3-1 victory over Bolivia in the Copa América and take the lead in Group A of the tournament.
Bolivia opened the scoring in the 9th minute with a goal from a penalty kick from Erwin Saavedra, when Paraguay tried to settle down as dominator of the game at the Olympic stadium in the city of Goiânia.
And he managed to maintain the result for more than 50 minutes despite the absence of his scorer Marcelo Moreno Martins, who was low after testing positive for COVID-19, and playing with one less man on the field in the second half.
After several attempts, Alejandro Romero Gamarra scored the equalizer at 61 minutes and four minutes later Ángel Romero put the result in favor of the “albirrojos”. Romero returned to the charge to score the third and seal the result at 80 minutes.
At the end of the first half, Bolivia was left with one less player on the field after forward Jaume Cuéllar was sent off for a foul against Paraguayan Robert Piris da Motta in the 53rd minute.
Those led by Eduardo Berizzo had two clear chances to score in the first minute and a half of the game, but the goal that came after a hand from defender Santiago Arzamendia in the area forced them to redouble the offense.
Paraguay continued to insist with an almost continuous attack in the Bolivian field, but it was imprecise in the definition and could not easily overcome the defense of “La Verde”.
The redheads continued to suffer from a lack of depth in the second half in which they exerted almost constant pressure against goalkeeper Rubén Cordano’s fence.
Finally, Romero Gamarra managed to score parity with a powerful shot with his left leg and went forward with the goal of Ángel Romero, who pushed the ball after a header from the recently entered Carlos González.
The Paraguayan striker was once again the protagonist by scoring the third and sealing the victory after a pass from his teammate Gabriel Ávalos.
With this result, Paraguay adds its first three points in Group A made up of other Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Paraguay’s next game will be against Argentina on Monday the 21st in Brasilia.