Argentina went into Friday’s marquee Group A clash with Uruguay looking for a win after settling for a draw in its Copa America opener against Chile.
Well, Lionel Messi did his part to make sure his team emerged victorious.
An inspired Messi and Argentina narrowly beat Uruguay in the latest edition of their storied rivalry, while Chile used an early finish from one of its newest players to squeak by Bolivia. Paraguay had the round off.
Here is a closer look at Matchday 2 in Group A and the updated standings:
Chile 1, Bolivia 0
(Ben Brereton 9′)
Ben Brereton may not yet know how to speak Spanish all that well, but that did not stop the England-born striker from scoring a game-winning goal.
Brereton opened his international account in his second Chile cap and first start by burying an early chance in a 1-0 victory over Bolivia. The Blackburn striker — who is eligible to play for La Roja through his Chilean mother, and was just called up by La Roja for the tournament — scored in the ninth minute of the day’s opening game at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba. Bolivia never found a response despite having more first-team players available after its recent COVID-19 outbreak in camp.
La Verde was under pressure for much of what remained of the first half, but goalkeeper Carlos Lampe made several key saves before Bolivia began improving from the run of play after halftime. Ultimately, however, Bolivia could not find a way past an impressive Claudio Bravo, who made multiple key stops in goal for triumphant Chile.
What a time to score your first-ever goal for Chile 👏👏
Ben Brereton puts 🇨🇱 on top in the first half
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 18, 2021
Argentina 1, Uruguay 0
(Guido Rodriguez 13′)
The stars were out in the latest chapter of the Clasico del Rio de La Plata. It was an unlikely hero who provided the difference, though.
Guido Rodriguez scored his first goal for Argentina in a 1-0 win against neighboring rivals Uruguay in a hard-fought nightcap at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. Rodriguez powered home a header at the back post after Lionel Messi took a short corner, raced towards the byline, and whipped in an accurate cross.
Messi made a number of trademark dribbling runs that had defenders chasing shadows, but La Albiceleste did not score again. Uruguay, meanwhile, did not produce a single shot on goal, though La Celeste thought it should have been given a penalty after Edinson Cavani went down in the 18-yard box in the 28th minute.
¡Gooooooool de Argentina! 🔥😎
Messi se inventa una jugada y manda un centro preciso para el remate de Guido Rodríguez. ⚽
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) June 19, 2021
GROUP A STANDINGS
1. Argentina……………4 pts……….+1 GD
2. Chile……………………4 pts……….+1 GD
3. Paraguay………..……3 pts……….+2 GD
4. Uruguay…………….…0 pts……….-1 GD
5. Bolivia…………………..0 pts……….-3 GD