Argentina, the defending World Cup champions, displayed their prowess on the field in a thrilling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay.
The match took place at the iconic Mâs Monumental in Buenos Aires, and the crowd eagerly anticipated the return of their beloved home hero, Lionel Messi, since his remarkable performance in the 1-0 win over Ecuador on September 7.
Argentina’s Early Dominance
The fans were not left disappointed as Messi came off the bench during the second half. Argentina set the tone early with Nicolás Otamendi’s powerful strike from the right side of the box in the third minute, giving them an early lead. This goal set the stage for an exceptional performance by the Argentine squad.
In the first half, Argentina dominated the game with a staggering 75% possession overall. Paraguay struggled to maintain possession and managed only one shot on goal throughout the entire match.
Argentina had several opportunities to increase their lead following Otamendi’s early goal. Lautaro Martínez had an excellent chance in the 16th minute, but Paraguay’s keeper, Carlos Coronel, made one of his three crucial saves to keep the ball out of the net.
Nicolás González came close to adding another goal for Argentina, but his shot in the 45th minute narrowly missed the far post by a foot.
In the second half, Lionel Messi entered the game, initially refusing the captain’s armband from Otamendi, but later accepting it with a smile. Messi demonstrated his exceptional skills, coming close to scoring on three occasions. A corner kick in the 76th minute bounced off the top left corner of the goal, Coronel blocked a shot from outside the box 15 minutes later, and Messi’s final free kick of the game deflected off the left post.
Thanks to Argentina’s formidable defense throughout the night, their goalkeeper, Emiliano Martínez, broke a national team record, keeping a clean sheet for 609 minutes. This incredible record dates back to the World Cup final against France in December.
In the end, Argentina secured a convincing 1-0 victory over Paraguay. Otamendi’s early goal proved to be the only score of the night in Buenos Aires.
This victory leaves Argentina in good spirits as they prepare to continue their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign with a match against Peru on October 17.
- Messi’s free kick narrowly misses the goal.
- Emiliano Martínez sets a new national team record for scoreless minutes in goal.
- Carlos Coronel makes a crucial save to block Messi’s shot attempt.
- Nicolás González’s shot barely misses the goal.
- Gabriel Ávalos substitutes in for Paraguay.
- Lautaro Martínez’s shot sails too high.
- Messi’s corner kick nearly results in a goal.
- Paraguay’s Júnior Alonso receives medical attention.
- Substitutions for Paraguay.
- Argentina attempts two corner kicks without success.
- Messi substitutes in for Argentina.
- Paraguay’s shot attempt goes wide of the goal.
- Yellow card for Paraguay.
- Carlos Coronel makes a close save.
- Argentina’s header goes over the goal.
- Both sides trade penalties and free kicks.
- Yellow card for Paraguay.
- Lautaro Martínez’s shot is saved by Carlos Coronel.
- Messi is a substitute for the game.
- Early yellow card for Argentina.
- Nicolás Otamendi scores with a powerful strike from inside the box.
- Kickoff for Argentina vs. Paraguay.
- Kickoff time for the Argentina vs. Paraguay match is 7:00 p.m. ET.
- The game can be watched via Spanish-language broadcast on Universo, with streaming available on FuboTV.
- Argentina’s coach, Lionel Scaloni, discusses Messi’s availability for upcoming matches.
- Other CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches taking place.
- Argentina’s schedule for the World Cup qualifiers this fall.
- Inter Miami’s remaining fixtures for the 2023 MLS Season.
- An update on Inter Miami’s MLS playoffs hopes.
- Argentina’s and Paraguay’s rosters for the match.
Argentina’s commanding performance in this World Cup qualifier has left their fans thrilled and eager for more outstanding football from the defending champions.