Welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the Group A Copa America match between Argentina and Paraguay being played at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia.
Papu Gomez's 10th minute goal is all that makes the difference as Argentina beats Paraguay 1-0 to secure its spot n the knockout stages. The win, Argentina's second on the trot, takes the side a step closer to winning its 15th Copa America title. This is also the the first time Paraguay has lost to Argentina in five games.
Argentina, now unbeaten in 16 games, looked sharp in patches but did not really dominate the game. The early goal gave the side a advantage but Paraguay played really well to remain in contention and came close on a couple of occasions but largely failed trouble the 'keeper.
Scaloni won't mind his side's slightly off-colour performance as the three points puts Argentina on top of Group A. Paraguay, which has played only two games, still has a good chance of progressing to the knockouts.
FULL-TIME! Argentina 1 - 0 Paraguay.
90+3' Messi goes for goal but Silva punches it out easily. Argentina has done really well to keep the ball in the Paraguay half and not allow the opposition any room to craft an attack.
90+2' Argentina looks more than happy to hold on to the ball and run down the clock. The Argentines have won two free-kicks in as many minutes.
90' The fourth official has signalled for four minutes to be added on.
89' A win today would take Argentina to the top of Group A with seven points from three games. The win would seal the side's ticket to the knockout stage. Paraguay will remain third if it loses.
87' What a run from Tagliafico! He skips past one defender after another and drills in a low cross that is cleared for a corner. Paraguay makes two substitutions as Carlos Espinola comes on for Angel Romero, while Gabriel Avalos is taken off for Braian Samudio.
83' Messi shoots from distance, but it's an easy save for Silva. Seven minutes of regulation time left. Do we have a late goal in store?
82' Paraguay also makes a change as Richard Sanchez comes on for Piris Da Motta.
81' Double change for Argentina - Di Maria and Paredes make way for Angel Correa and Nicolas Dominguez repspectively.
79' Di Maria and Messi combine effectively once again. Di Maria drops a shoulder and cuts into his left to lay it for Messi. The Barca icon takes a touch and looks keen to shoot but has the ball taken away. Messi is yet to have a proper shot on goal today.
77' Angel Romero takes the free-kick but it's a poor one. He fails to beat the wall and the set-piece chance goes begging.
76' Paraguay now has a fantastic opportunity. Avalos is fouled by Cristian Romero and wins a free-kick right at the edge of the box.
74' Much like the first half, play has been a little scrappy over the last few minutes. Loose fouls all around have disrupted the flow of the game and neither side has created a chance in quite some time.
72' Second change of the game for Argentina - the goal-scorer Papu Gomez has been replaced by Rodrigo De Paul. The 27-year-old Udinese midfielder has been strongly linked with a potential move to La Liga champion Atletico Madrid.
69' That looks painful! Cristian Romero and Gustavo Gomez vie for a header and Gomez clatters into Romero's back while he's in mid-air. Romero goes down in a heap and will receive medical attention.
65' Two changes for Paraguay as Oscar Romero and Angel Lucena replace Alejandro Romero and Andres Cubas respectively.
62' Molina wins the round of the Alimron vs Molina battle. Almiron darts into the box and cuts inside as Molina recovers ground and clears the danger with a neat challenge.
60' Almiron's burst of pace on the left sees Paraguay awarded with a free-kick from a promising position. Romero takes it and goes for goal with a curling attempt towards the far corner but it lacks the pace. Martinez collects it with ease.
59' First change of the game - Aguero, making his 99th appearance for Argentina, makes way for Joaquin Correa.
57' Good spell of pressure from Paraguay as the side wins four corners in quick succession. All of them were taken short, but none produced a shot on target.
55' Messi was reportedly supposed to be rested for today's game. Reports yesterday said that he had spoken to Scaloni and they had agreed to let him sit out this game so that he can stay fresh for the knockouts. Well, that plan clearly did not materialise.
52' Almiron has resumed his duty on the left flank as he continues to impress with his pace. He has made a couple of decent runs but has not been able to create a chance just yet.
49' Di Maria's wily footwork wins Argentina a free-kick on the right. Paredes and Messi look interested in it. Paredes plays it short to Messi and he floats it into the box but to no avail.
48' Good chance for Paraguay as left-back Arzamendia lets one rip from 20-odd yards out and forces a save from Martinez.
47' Paraguay has never beaten Argentina in the Copa America in 25 attemps. Can the La Albirroja achieve a slice of history today?
46' KICK OFF! The second half is underway with Paraguay attacking from right to left.
HALF-TIME! Argentina leads 1-0 going into the interval, courtesy of Papu Gomez's 10th minute goal. Lionel Scaloni's side started the game on the front foot and got the all-important early goal, but Paraguay has done remarkably well to keep the pressure on Argentina. Paraguay has not had too many clear-cut chance so far but has upped the ante in attack. Argentina, on the other hand, has had a couple of decent chances and even had a goal disallowed, and will be looking to extend its lead in the second 45.
GOAAAAAL! Papu Gomez's cross from the the right is turned into the net by Paraguay defender Alonso and Argentina has a 2-0 lead!
Papu Gomez's cross from the the right is turned into the net by Paraguay defender Alonso but a VAR check has ruled that the goal will not stand because Messi was in an offside position when Di Maria took the initial shot.
45' One minute if additional time to be played.
44' Almiron emulates Di Maria as he races forward on the counter but is taken out by a heavy shoulder challenge from Molina. The Almiron vs Molina battle continues!
42' Messi charges forward, finds Aguero on his right and gets a return pass inside the box, but can't pull the trigger. The Paraguay defence has done well to remain tight and offer Messi little to no room in the box.
40' What a blazing run from Di Maria! Argentina attacks on the counter as Gomez releases Di Maria down the left channel. Di Maria cuts inside and darts down the centre before he is hacked down by Alonso. Di Maria is rolling back the years with his blistering pace.
38' Messi goes in a mazy run from the centre of the pitch and gets past three defenders along the way, but loses the ball at the edge of the box. Messi has just had the one shot so far, which came from the free-kick he took in the 18th minute.
37' Almiron has been a constant thorn in the Argetina defence. His fiery pace on the left has makes him a tricky customer and Molina has been very alert to keep Almiron in check.
34' Paredes is very lucky to remain on the pitch. He makes a poorly-timed sliding tackle from behind and takes out Avalos in the process. The referee plays advantage, which does not really work in Paraguay's favour, much to their angst. The referee shows Paredes a yellow card, but that well could have been red. Paraguay piling the pressure on the now-nervy Argentine back-line.
31' Cheeky play from Di Maria! He works his way down the right channel and plays a wily back heel onto the path of an onrushing Molina, but the ball rolls out of play. Di Maria has been fantastic on the right so far and has been Argentina's link-up player.
29' Espinola floats in a peach of a cross from the right for Avalos, but the Paraguay striker can't get to the ball. It is headed away for a corner kick.
25' It's been a scrappy few minutes with crunching tackles on either side of the pitch disrupting the flow of play. Tagliafico is very lucky as he makes a heavy two-footed tackle on Almiron chooses to keep his cards in his pocket.
22' Argentina's early goal looked like the side would go on to dominate the half but Paraguay has done well to find its footing here. The Argentina is yet to really be tested, but Paraguay is keeping the Argentina defence on its toes.
19' Some good work on the right presents Romero with a good chance and he has a go from inside the box but has hit shot blocked by an Argentine defender.
18' Just wide of the post! Messi goes for power towards the right bottom corner but misses he target by a whisker. Messi had scored a stunning free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Chile.
16' Free-kick from a dangerous position for Argentina. Aguero is brought down right at the edge of the box by Gustavo Gomez, who becomes the first player to be booked today. No prizes for guessing, Messi will take the free-kick.
14' Some early drama here. Avalos gets his foot in tho way to block to block Martinez's drop-kick and the Argentine's are furious. They want Avalos to be booked but the referee thinks otherwise.
11' Alejandro Dario Gomez, commonly known as Papu Gomez, scored his previous goal in 2017 when Argentina beat Singapore 6-0 in a friendly.
10' GOMEZ MAKES IT 1-0 TO ARGENTINA! The 33-year-old scores his second goal in his sixth cap for Argentina to put his side ahead. Di Maria comes up with the assist as he plays a delightful weighted pass for Gomez inside the box, who cleverly dinks it past the Paraguay 'keeper. The early goal has firmly put Argentina in the driver's seat.
7' Aguero misses a golden opportunity! A defensive mix-up between two Paraguay defenders inside the box sees the ball fall kindly for Aguero with only the 'keeper to beat. Aguero takes the shot on the turn but can only find the top of the net.
6' Gomezzzzzzz! He fires a swerving left-footer from the edge of the box but it sails just above the crossbar. Positive start from Argentina.
3' Paraguay has avoided defeat in the last four times these two sides have clashed. Can the La Albirroja make if five in five today?
1' Fantastic movement from the get-go. Di Maria cuts in from the right and plays it for Messi in the box, but his first touch is a tad too heavy.
1' KICK OFF! Argentina set the ball rolling, attacking from right to left.
5:29am: The players are out on the pitch - Argentina dons its traditional blue and white stripes, while Paraguay comes out in red and blue jerseys. The teams will hold a minute's silence ahead of kick-off.
5:25am: Lionel Messi has won it all with Barcelona in a decorated career. Winning a title with Argentina remains one of his biggest ambitions. Can he take his side a step closer to that dream today?
5:20am: Did you know? Argentina is currently unbeaten in 15 games since it lost in the semifinal of the last Copa America in 2019.
5:15am: Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has gone with quite a changed line up from the side that beat Uruguay 1-0 on Saturday . He makes six changes as the likes of Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria start in what is a much-win game for the Argentines.
Lionel Messi's Argentina will look for its second win of Copa America 2021 when it takes on Paraguay in a Group A clash today. Here is how the two teams will line up:
Argentina starting XI: Martinez; Molina Lucero, Romero, Tagliafico, Pezzella; Paredes, Rodriguez, Gomez, Messi, Aguero, Di Maria.
Paraguay starting XI: Silva; Arzamendia, Alonso, Gomez, Espinola; Piris da Motta, A Cubas; Romero, Almiron, Romero Gamarra; Avalos
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