Argentina ended the 2021 Copa America group stages with a massive 4-1 win over Bolivia.
Goals from Alejandro Gomez and Lautaro Martinez either side of two goals from Lionel Messi got the job done for Albiceleste. Bolivia could only collect a consolation goal from Erwin Saavedra.
Lionel Scaloni’s side found the breakthrough early after Messi brilliantly set up Gomez with a cross. He then scored two goals in quick succession with a fine penalty and a beautiful lob late in the first half.
Had a 3-0 lead at halftime, The Sky Blues seemed to have closed the game. But Saavedra returned one for Green follow the movement of the beautiful team.
Bolivia’s faint hopes of a comeback were dashed, however, by substitute Martinez. The Inter Milan striker came off the bench to restore Argentina’s three-goal lead and equalize.
Bolivia, already knocked out of the competition, are bottom of Group A without a single point. Argentina, meanwhile, have qualified for the quarter-finals and will face Ecuador this Saturday (3 July).
Here are the player rankings for Argentina:
Franco Armani – 7/10
Armani had a relatively easy night in goal for Argentina. He couldn’t do much about the Bolivia goal which involved some very good play.
Gonzalo Montiel – 6/10
The right-back combined his pace and power to add a new dimension to the Argentine attack. He laid the marker with a staggering 96% passing accuracy.
German Pezzella – 7/10
Pezzella’s ball playing skills are there for all to see. He laid down two long balls and completed 94 of his 96 passes. Pezzella also looked solid defensively, making one block and one intercept each.
Lisandro Martinez – 8/10
Martinez is very good on the ball and works hard defensively. He won two of his three duels and made seven clearances that night, the highest level, to set the back line with elan. Martinez could be a long-term solution to Argentina’s defensive problems from the past.
Marcos Acuna – 8/10
Acuna is like live wire on the flanks. He took the game to Bolivia with a purposeful run and stretched their defence. The Sevilla man got on well with Messi several times and provided three crosses in the game (one was accurate).
A battering ram that crushed Bolivia’s top-line movement, Rodriguez is a rock in the middle of the park. He made three interceptions, while also playing a key role in reclaiming possession. Rodriguez always tried to put Argentina ahead and sent seven long passes.
Exequiel Palacios – 7/10
His reading of the game was brilliant as Palacios created two good chances in the game. But he has to be stronger in possession because he lost the ball eight times.
Angel Correa – 7/10
Correa tested the Bolivian goalkeeper with a fierce shot early on and then helped set up Argentina’s opener. However, the midfielder’s influence waned in the second half and was substituted around the hour mark.
Lionel Messi – 9/10
The Argentina captain provided the assist for the opening goal, scored the next two goals and helped create the fourth as well. It was a classic Leo Messi performance, one we’ve been watching for years.
Alejandro Gomez – 8/10
The Sevilla man opened the scoring for Argentina with a beautiful volley from Messi’s beautiful chip. Gomez then returned the favor to his captain by awarding him a penalty which was saved by Messi.
Sergio Agüero – 6/10
He showed extraordinary vision and execution to pick out Messi’s pass and provide the assist for Argentina’s second goal. It’s a combination that Barcelona fans hope to see more of when club football returns. Aguero himself had two chances, but the former Manchester City man fired wide.
Leandro Paredes – 6/10
Paredes replaced Guido Rodriguez for the last 20 minutes. He didn’t do much after coming on, but made a foul from Diego Wayar in added time to see the game out.
Nicolas Dominguez – 7/10
Dominguez replaced Palacios in the 71st minute. He wasn’t a direct threat, but kept the ball flowing with his precise passes (23 versus 23).
Young Lo Celso – 7/10
Nice cameo from Lo Celso, who replaced Correa in the 64th minute. The Spurs midfielder is good on the ball and makes two interceptions as well.
Lautaro Martinez – 8/10
Martinez scored for the first time in this year’s Copa Ameri after replacing Aguero in the 63rd minute. He scored less than two minutes after coming on, but could have scored more had Lampe not produced a superb double save soon after.
Julian Alvarez – 6/10
He replaced Gomez 10 minutes into the second half. Alvarez did little in the time he spent on the pitch, but put himself in the final third to cause Bolivia problems.
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