La Albiceleste registered their first victory in the tournament on Saturday early morning.
Following a stalemate against Chile in the tournament opener, Argentina returned to the winning ways with a narrow victory over Uruguay. An early winner by Guido Rodriguez helped La Albiceleste clinch three points on Saturday early morning.
Uruguay, playing their first match of the Copa America 2021, went into the clash looking to beat Argentina for the first time in major tournaments since 1989. Oscar Tabarez’s side are yet to lift a trophy after their triumph in 2011 on Argentinian soil.
Lionel Messi’s inch-perfect cross into the box found Rodriguez, who headed past Muslera to put Argentina ahead. Let’s check out the key highlights from the game.
5. Lionel Messi-inspired performance
After scoring a flamboyant freekick in the first game, Lionel Messi was in his rhythm yet again. It was Messi’s inch-perfect cross into the box that allowed Rodriguez to head past Muslera. In addition, Messi was fluid and integral in Argentina’s attack throughout the match. He worked with Rodrigo De Paul in tandem, to set up for both Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Gonzalez.
In particular, Messi was more involved in counter-pressing on several occasions. Messi won 15 ground duels, more than any other outfield player from both sides. Scaloni’s side made their intent clear from the opening minute of the game as Messi intercepted a pass in the middle and made a run to take a shot.
4. Rodrigo De Paul’s composed midfield performance
A concern for Argentine fans has always been the lack of support that Lionel Messi gets from his national team mates. However, against Uruguay, that did not seem to be the case, as Rodrigo De Paul perfectly complimented him.
In addition to 7 accurate long balls, the Udinese midfielder covered for Messi on the midfield. De Paul’s through balls were also useful in getting Argentina’s attack pushing for a goal. His presence and tireless work rate allowed Argentina to be more creative in the final third.
3. Lautaro Martinez’s worrying form
Lautaro Martinez is yet to replicate his league performance from last season in his national team shirt. The forward had a match to forget as he was unable to convert a rebound off Lionel Messi’s attempt in the initial minutes of the match.
He failed to get a hold on the game and was eventually substituted after 52 minutes. Martinez managed just 19 touches, while he lost possession 7 times. He also failed join in the team effort in search of a goal, other than missing the rebound. Later, Joaquin Correa replaced the forward, putting his place in the starting line-up in doubt.
2. Uruguay’s slow transitions
Despite being one of the most prolific attacking sides around, Uruguay found the transition hard. With Argentina starting on the front foot, Uruguay had to defend deep. While Diego Godin did well in the heart of the defence, Uruguay were too slow to transit from defence to attack and paid the price.
In the previous game, Argentina conceded after taking the lead against Chile. Despite dominating in the majority of the match, Argentina conceded as soon as Chile increased their intensity. Uruguay failed to increase their attacking intensity, which helped Argentina defend the lead in a fairly comfortable manner.
1. Suarez and Cavani’s indolence
Despite having Suarez and Cavani upfront, the main problem for Uruguay was supplying the ball to them. Oscar Tabarez’s side could not get the ball through the Argentine defence to create chances for their strikers.
As a result, the duo registered less than 60 touches together and made only one shot, off target. Uruguay’s gameplay and slow transitions allowed Argentina to defend in numbers, blocking passing lanes to the duo.
Both Cavani and Suarez looked rustic in their movements and Argentina’s centre-back pair Otamendi and Romero had little trouble contending their threat.