A free kick golazo from one of the world’s top talents, a superb equalizing strike from a former MLS player, and two come-from-behind results.
It sure was an eventful first day of Group A play at Copa America 2021.
Matchday 1 in Group A of CONMEBOL’s continental competition took place on Monday, and it saw the magical Lionel Messi deliver an impressive goal for Argentina in a stalemate with fierce foe Chile. Elsewhere, former New York Red Bulls playmaker Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra atoned for a horrific miss to help Paraguay rally to a win over 10-man Bolivia while Uruguay sat out this round of action.
Here is how the first set of games in Group A went, and where the teams currently stand in the table.
Argentina 1, Chile 1
(Lionel Messi 33′) — (Eduardo Vargas 57′)
Lionel Messi got the better of Claudio Bravo on a free kick this time, but it was still not enough for Argentina to come out on top.
Bitter foes Argentina and Chile renewed acquaintances in a 1-1 draw in the group opener, with Messi and Eduardo Vargas trading goals on each side of halftime. Messi struck first at the Estadio Olimpico Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro with a fantastic set piece in the first half, but Vargas equalized after halftime on a rebounded header that immediately followed teammate Arturo Vidal’s saved penalty.
Messi’s curling opener for La Albiceleste came a little more than a week after he was superbly denied by Bravo on a near-identical free kick in World Cup Qualifying. On this occasion the superstar attacker found the back of the net, but just as in the previous encounter La Roja leveled to share the spoils.
MESSI MAGIC ✨
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 14, 2021
Paraguay 3, Bolivia 1
(Alejandro Romero Gamarra 62′; Angel Romero 65′, 80′ ) — (Erwin Saavedra 10′ (penalty))
A dreadful start looked like it might doom Paraguay to a surprise defeat. Then, Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra stepped up to help spark a comeback.
Paraguay erased an early deficit and flipped the script on 10-man Bolivia to prevail, 3-1, in the nightcap at Estadio Olimpico Pedro Ludovico in Goiania. La Albirroja scored all of its goals in the second half, with Romero Gamarra jumpstarting the rally, and atoning for an earlier horrific miss, by unleashing an impressive volley from outside the penalty area that tied the game.
Bolivia was missing a handful of top players like red-hot striker Marcelo Martins and goalkeeper Carlos Lampe due to a COVID-19 outbreak in camp, but still managed to take the lead 10 minutes in after a VAR ruling gave the team a penalty kick. A second yellow card to Jaume Cuellar right before halftime left La Verde down a man, however, and that proved too difficult to overcome.
¡Goooooooool de Paraguay! 🔥
Romero le pegó con odio a esa pelota y empata todo para los guaraníes. 😎
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) June 15, 2021
GROUP A STANDINGS
1. Paraguay…………3 pts……….+2 GD
2. Argentina……………1 pt……….0 GD
3. Chile……….1 pt……….0 GD
4. Uruguay………………0 pts……….0 GD
5. Bolivia……..0 pts……….-2 GD