Copa America, as it happened: Aguero, Martinez goals seal quarterfinal spot for Messi's Argentina

14-time Copa America winner Argentina takes on Asian champion and 2022 World Cup host Qatar in a must-win game for both sides, as the focus turns on Lionel Messi.

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Copa America 2019.

This is Dominic Richard and I will be taking you through our live coverage.

The action takes place at the Arena do Gremio in Porto Allegre, where Argentina takes on Qatar in the final Group B game for both sides.

Argentina and Qatar have one point each from two games in Group B. Both of them lost to Colombia and drew against Paraguay. Colombia has already qualified to the quarterfinal as Group B winner.

All eyes will be on five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi as Argentina fans will be expecting him to carry the team to the next stage. Messi has scored his country's only goal this tournament, through a penalty.

In the other Group B fixture of the day, Paraguay plays Colombia at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

If Paraguay loses or draws that game, a win will take Argentina or Qatar through to the quaterfinal as the second-placed team but if Paraguay wins then both Argentina and Paraguay can only hope to qualify as one among the two best-finishing third-placed team.

So the winner of this match might qualify to the quarterfinal depending on the other results in the tournament today and tomorrow. Let's get going!

 

 

 

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That's all from this match. Thanks for tuning in, see you soon.

FINAL GROUP B POINTS TABLE

TeamPWDLGDPts
Colombia3300+49
Argentina3111 04
Paraguay3021-12
Qatar3012-31

 

Argentina will face Venezuela in the quarterfinal in Rio de Janeiro on 28 June, Friday, while Qatar heads home.

Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero spare Argentina's blushes as they send La Albiceleste through to the Copa America quarterfinals as Group B runner-up, with its first win of the campaign. Qatar can hold its head high for a strong showing in its Copa America debut, but it heads home with just one point from its three matches.

It is actually Argentina skipper Lionel Messi's birthday according to the time in some parts of the world. So this win will be a wonderful gift for the captain. However, Messi and his side will be raring to go all the way in this year's Copa America and won't settle with this win. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIONEL MESSI.

The other game ends COLOMBIA 1 - 0 PARAGUAY. So good news for Argentina.

90'+4' FULL-TIME: QATAR 0-2 ARGENTINA.

90'+2' The last time Argentina failed to progress from the group stage of a Copa Amarica was in 1983, when only one of three teams per group advanced.

90' There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of this match.

89' Frustration setting in for Qatar as Al Ahrak goes into the book for blatantly shoving De Paul in an attempt to win the ball back higher up the pitch.

87' There were certainly positives for Qatar to take from this match, and its campaign as a whole, but the results show that it is just lacking that bit of quality needed to turn these performances into points. Still, there's reason for optimism ahead of World Cup 2022, and it will get another crack at the Copa America next summer.

85' SUBSTITUTIONS! Both teams make simultaneous substitutions. Ismaeil comes on to take the place of Miguel out wide and Argentina makes a final change as it doesn't want to risk Foyth. Pezella replaces him.

84' UPDATE! ARGENTINA 2 - 0 QATAR AND COLOMBIA 1 - 0 PARAGUAY.

82' AGUERO PUTS THE MATCH TO BED! It's 2-0 and Argentina is all but sure into the quarterfinals as he brilliantly dribbles his way beyond a pair of defenders and through on goal, driving an excellent finish in at the far post! Al Sheeb got his fingertips to it, but it was struck with too much power for the keeper to turn it behind. Dybala with the possible match-winning assist.

81' Messi is starting to take charge a bit, refusing to be dispossessed as he pokes the ball beyond one defender, before expertly shielding it from another, winning a free-kick as he lures Salman into a foul. Time is running out for Qatar.

FACT

Argentina has not kept a clean sheet in any of its last seven competitive matches, dating back to a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with Peru in October 2017.

 

79' Long throw-in by Saravia to Dybala but Argentina gives the ball away as Qatar attacks with Afif who passes the ball to Almoez Ali. A clean tackle from Otamendi to win the ball back from Ali.

78' Both coaches are being very vocal now. Handball by Qatar and Aguero calls for the foul and he gets it. Argentina commits numbers forward.

77' Qatar makes a change a minute later. Abdullah Al Ahrak (Qatar) replaces Salem Al Hajri in an attacking change from the coach.

76' Paulo Dybala is finally in. He replaces the goalscorer Lautaro Martinez. Dybala has always maintained that it was difficult to play alongside Lionel Messi as both of them prefer the same position.

74' Boudiaf gets a yellow card for a silly tackle. Second Yellow for Felix Sanchez's side.

72' Aguero and Khoukhi grapple for the ball in the Qatar penalty area, with the Argentina striker going to ground, prompting penalty appeals from those in blue and white. Both players had arms around one another though, each equally to blame. Good refereeing to wave play on there.

71' THAT HAD TO BE BETTER! Qatar breaks threateningly, in numbers, as Argentina is caught out in defence. Afif leads the charge and he has options to either side, but tries for goal himself, scuffing his strike towards the near post as Armani makes the simplest of saves!

70' UPDATE AGAIN!!! Colombia's goal has been disallowed by VAR after there was a handball by a Colombian player leading up to the goal. It is still Colombia 1 - 0 Paraguay. Argentina fans will be nervous once again.

68' Salman is asking for medical assistance after a tackle from an Argentina player but he will have to leave the pitch in order to receive treatment from the physio.

66' UPDATE!!! Colombia 2 - 0 Paraguay. Diaz scores the second goal off a James Rodriguez assist. Advantage Argentina now clearly.

64' Argentina attempted only seven shots in its last game, against Paraguay, its lowest in a game across the last four editions of Copa America. It has 14 attempts already today. And it is showing lots of positive intent today.

FACT

Argentina had won 12 of its 14 Copa America titles within 1959 and its last continental triumph came in 1993.

 

62' Messi wins another corner for Argentina as Al Sheeb makes yet another wonderful save. Fourth corner of the match for Argnetina. Paredes with one to the near post but Qatar gets away with it easily.

60' Argentina''s routine - When somebody grabs the ball they look for Messi. When the five-time Ballon d'Or winner grabs the ball he looks for Aguero. A shot from Aguero is blocked by goalkeeper Al Sheeb. Corner for Argentina.

59' OFFSIDE! Qatar forward Afif was slightly off the mark receiving a pass from Almoez Ali. Free-kick for Argentina.

57' The lively tempo seen in the opening 45 minutes hasn't quite been here in the second half. Qatar is undoubtedly continuing to grow into the game, but the pace has been slowed considerably as Argentina adopt a more defensive approach.

55' Argentina brings up the first substitution as Lo Celso gives way following a disappointing showing, with Acuna taking his place.

53'  Qatar trying to keep up to Argentina's pace. But its been all Argentina so far.

FACT

Argentina has won its last six games against Asian countries at neutral venues.

 

51' Messi takes matters into his own hands, bursting forward from out of nothing, as he drives through the heart of the Qatar side before being taken down rather cynically from behind by Ali. It's a yellow for the Qatar striker.

50' Argentina hasn't started this second half all that well, and already there are some groans that can be heard coming from their supporters in the stands. Their patience has been tested in this tournament, and this is exactly the sort of complacency they've grown tired of.

48' Dreadful play from Saravia who gives the ball straight to the opposition deep in his own end, gifting Afif a chance to break. The turnover puts the pressure on Foyth, who is forced to come across and deal with it, and he winds up conceding a free-kick in a threatening area. Armani does well to collect the ensuing free-kick, though.

46' Qatar get the second half underway!

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Group B points table as of now (if the scores stay the same after 90 minutes):

TeamPWDLGDPts
Colombia3300+49
Argentina3111-14
Paraguay3021-12
Qatar3012-21

 

Colombia and Argentina will go through to the quarterfinals if the scores from both the games stay the same  throughout and Paraguay will have to wait to see whether it advances as a possible best-finishing third-placed team.

However there is still 45-minutes left in both the games and anything can happen.

Argentina's Lautaro Martinez was gifted the opener by Qatar defender Al-Rawi through a miss-pass inside of five minutes, setting up what looked like a straightforward day for La Albiceleste. Full credit to Qatar, however, which has done very well to settle in since then, limiting Argentina's looks while twice coming close to the equaliser before the break, with Bassam Al Rawi hitting the woodwork.

45+1' AND ITS HALF-TIME AT BOTH GAMES! ARGENTINA 1 - 0 QATAR AND COLOMBIA 1 - 0 PARAGUAY.

45' OFF THE POST! Al Rawi takes the free-kick, finding the slightest hole in the wall as he drives a strike towards the near post, but it smacks off the woodwork and goes behind, much to the relief of Armani!

44' Great bit of skill from Ali, who lures Foyth into a foul on the edge of the penalty area! It's a yellow for the centre-back, and more importantly for Qatar a great chance to try and restore parity before the interval.

42' Lo Celso catches Khoukhi with a late challenge as he picks up the first booking of the match. A minute of added time to be played.

40' ALMOST THE EQUALISER! Well that's certainly the closest Qatar have come in this first half, as Hatim gets behind the defence to get on the end of a cross from Ali, but it's just a bit too far ahead of him as he can only make weak contact, knocking it wide of the mark!

39' QATAR LIVING DANGEROUSLY! Argentina ramps up the pressure and Qatar nearly succumb to it! Martinez's header is spilled by Al Sheeb, right into the path of Aguero. The striker just can't get himself turned around for a shot, laying it off instead, where it's played back into the centre for Martinez, but his tame effort is cleared off the line by Al Rawi!

37' Brave goalkeeping from Al Sheeb, who comes off his line to punch clear Messi's free-kick, before being fouled. Argentina makes nothing of the free-kick opportunity.

35' UPDATE! COLOMBIA 1 - 0 PARAGUAY. A Cuellar goal from an Arias assist gives Colombia the lead and puts Argentina in pole position to advance to the quarterfinals.

34' A bit of a soft decision from the referee as he awards Argentina a free-kick in a dangerous area, with Boudiaf called for a foul on Martinez. The ball will be placed just to the left of the penalty area, about 25 yards from goal. This is a great area to whip in a cross.

32' Excellent challenge from Tagliafico, who reads the play well to track the run of Miguel, sticking a well-timed foot in to knock the ball free and deny the full-back a clean look from 10 yards. Moments later Qatar is nearly in again, but it's Otamendi this time who puts in a stern challenge to see the ball behind.

30' Qatar shows some good patience of its own on the ball, trying to pull Argentina wide before exploiting the crack through the centre. Ali thinks he's found a way through behind the defence, but Foyth shows impressive recovery speed to get across and knock the ball away from danger.

28' Qatar attempted a single shot in the first half against Colombia, equalling the minimum in a first half of a 2019 Copa America game (Argentina also had 1 against Colombia, and Ecuador 1 against Uruguay).

26' The more of the ball Argentina sees, the more Qatar is dropping into its defensive shell. Qatar certainly isn't pressing high up to try and win it back, which has allowed La Albiceleste to be patient with its build-up.

24' Argentina is definitely commanding more of the ball, with Qatar biding its time between its opportunities to counter. The Asian outfit need to be a bit more willing to get men forward though, as three points are likely all that will keep its campaign alive.

FACT

Aguero still hasn't opened his account this Copa America but had seven goals in the last 11 Premier League games for champion-side Manchester City.

 

22' HUGE CHANCE! Incisive passing through the lines from Argentina, which culminates in Messi playing Aguero through on goal, but the Manchester City striker just drags his strike wide of the far post! You'd have fancied him to at least be working the keeper from there!

21' Both sides appear to be in quite a nice rhythm with the ball at their feet. There's been some excellent passing taking place thus far, and surely more goals will follow if this keeps up.

19' Wonderful build-up play! Refreshing stuff from Qatar in possession, as they work it around determinedly in the attacking half, moving well off the ball. The end result is a low cross in for Ali, who was making a run towards the near post, but he just can't sort his footing as a stray touch sends the ball safely into the arms of Armani.

17' Argentina has only one point from their first two matches of the tournament (D1 L1); its worst Copa America start since 1979, when it lost its first two games.

15' DEFLECTED OVER! Al Rawi is caught napping on the edge of his penalty area as Aguero clips in from behind to dispossess him, before laying it off for Lo Celso. The midfielder twists and turns, getting the ball onto his left as he drives a strike at goal, but it's fearlessly off the head of a defender and behind for a corner.

13' Back the other way come Argentina, which penetrates the Qatar defence as they burst into the area. Aguero clips a cross in towards the far post, which Martinez leaves for Lo Celso, but the midfielder gets the contact all wrong as he blasts an effort over the bar.

12' Qatar manages its first decent spell on the ball, passing it around slowly in defence, with Argentina puzzlingly opting to drop deeper and lets it keep possession. Eventually Qatar do get it forward, but the end result is a hopeful strike lifted harmlessly over the bar by Miguel from a difficult angle.

 

10' Argentina has look incredibly comfortable in these opening 10 minutes. Where was this sort of confidence against Colombia and Paraguay? It is attacking in numbers, knocking the ball around with real intent.

9' UPDATE FROM THE OTHER GAME: Colombia 0 - 0 Paraguay. As it stands Argentina is number two in the Group.

8' Martinez's opener is his first competitive goal for Argentina, with his previous four for La Albiceleste all coming in friendlies.

6' Well that is exactly what the doctor ordered for Argentina, who was desperately in need of something positive to hang its hat on. They started this match with a good intensity, which Qatar has been unable to match, and has been dearly punished as a result.

4' GOAL!!! ARGENTINA HAS LIFTOFF! Martinez, who squandered a gift of a chance seconds earlier, atones for the miss straight away to make it 1-0! Dreadful passing in defence from Qatar sees the ball picked off by Martinez, who bursts into the area and finishes coolly at the near post!

FACT

The only other meeting between Argentina and Qatar came in 2005 in an International friendly that La Albiceleste won 3-0

 

3' Two minutes in and Messi takes a shot from a distance. And that's his earliest shot in this tournament so far.

2' Argentina still hasn't proven that it is the team to beat this Copa America. It has to dig deep to qualify for the next stage. And Lo Celso loses possession.

1' KICK OFF! Here we go.

- The teams are out on the field for the national anthems. Action will be underway soon.

Today's referee will be Julio Bascunan from Chile. This will be his second game this tournament after the Brazil-Venezuela game.

READ| Copa America: Messi desperate to avoid 'crazy' elimination against Qatar

-  Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni is its former player and Qatar coach Felix Sanchez Bas, who lead them to the Asia Cup triumph, is a former Barcelona Youth Academy coach.

-  Qatar, a guest team at this edition of the Copa America, came back from 0-2 behind to draw its game against against Paraguay. The team then conceded a late goal to Colombia to lose its second game 0-1.

-  Qatar has won an Asian Games gold medal (2006) and most recently the 2019 AFC Asian Cup (It's first title at the tournament).

-  Argentina lost its opening game of the tournament 0-2 against Colombia after having most of the possession. It drew against Paraguay, thanks to a Messi penalty and a missed penalty for the opposition. Paraguay had more shots and shots on target than Argentina in that game.

-  Argentina has won two FIFA World Cups (1978, 1986), two Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008) and a mammoth 14 Copa America titles (second most).

 

Team news-

ARGENTINA XI (4-3-3): Armani (gk), Saravia, Otamendi, Foyth, Tagliafico, Lo Celso, Paredes, De Paul, Messi, Aguero, Martinez

QATAR XI (3-5-1-1): Al Sheeb (gk), Al-Rawi, Khoukhi, Salman, Correia, Al Hajri, Al Haydos, Boudiaf, Hatim, Afif, Almoez

 

Welcome back to the LIVE coverage of the Argentina vs Qatar Group B fixture.