Copa America, as it happened: Lo Celso, Martinez strikes set up semifinal date with Brazil for Messi's Argentina

Two-time World Cup winner and Lionel Messi-led Argentina takes on the 33rd-ranked side in the world Venezuela in a Copa America quarterfinal fixture in Rio de Janeiro.

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 Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, where Argentina takes on Venezuela in the second quarterfinal of the 2019 Copa America.

The winner of this match will play host Brazil, who beat Paraguay in the first quarterfinal yesterday, in the semifinal on 2nd July. Let's get going!

 

Follow the action LIVE:

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

Lautaro Martinez put Argentina into an early lead it would never surrender, with Giovani Lo Celso adding a second late on as the Albiceleste secures a semifinal date with Brazil on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte. Venezuela enjoyed the lion's share of possession, but Argentina remained stingy in defence as it books its place in the last four.

90'+6' AND ITS FULL-TIME!!! ARGENTINA 2 - 0 VENEZUELA.

90'+5' Paulo Dybala brings down an opponent player with a very late tackle. Free kick. Venezuela will probably just try to cross the ball in from here.

90'+3' Yeferson Julio Soteldo Martinez wastes a good opportunity as his pass into the box is blocked by the defence.

90'+1' There will be a minimum of five minutes added on at the end of this match, which appears to be little more than a formality now as the tempo has fizzled out. Argentina is doing well to keep the ball near the corner flag, with frustration undoubtedly setting in for Venezuela.

89' Angel Di Maria misses a good chance to score. An inch-perfect cross into the box finds Angel Di Maria who rises for a header, but sends the ball well over the bar.

87' No shortage of stoppages over the last five minutes, as yet another player goes down, forcing play to come to a halt. Players gather around Di Maria, who rolls around on the ground, but the training staff doesn't even come out to look at him, suggesting this isn't much more than a time-wasting tactic.

85' And now it's Argentina's turn to make its final change, with Aguero making the slow walk to the touchline as he's replaced by Dybala.

83' Finally Venezuela is back to a full compliment of players as it gets Seijas on to take the place of the injured Rosales.

 

82' Deflected behind! Plenty of anticipation as Venezuela win a free-kick 25 yards from goal, in good position for a shot. Rondon finally takes, following a short run up, but his effort deflects behind for a corner. Meanwhile, Rosales is fighting with the training staff to try and get back out onto the pitch. They're not letting him, having to physically restrain him before a few substitutes drag him into the dugout.

80' Safe hands from Armani as he comes out to claim a corner. The keeper has commanded his area well today. Venezuela has had very little success putting crosses into the box, yet it has failed to change its approach.

78' Yeferson Julio Soteldo Martinez fails to find any of his teammates inside the box as his pass is blocked. It's a throw-in for Venezuela.

POSSESSION STAT

Possession was evenly shared in the first half, but Venezuela has seen more than a 70 per cent share since the restart. All that time spent on the ball and it has just one shot on target to show for it.

 

76' A clash of heads leaves Rosales down in the Argentina penalty area and in need of treatment. These are desperate times for Venezuela, which has no choice but to throw everything and everyone into the box.

74' GOAL!!!! Disaster strikes for Venezuela which now trails 2-0 as Lo Celso is in the right place at the right time to turn the ball into an empty net after Farinez spilled Aguero's straightforward strike from 20 yards. That's poor from the keeper, and it will likely cost his side a place in the next round.

73' The ball is cleared after Roberto Rosales attempted to dribble past an opposing Argentina player.

FACT

Martinez scored off the bench in his last appearance against Argentina, a 3-1 friendly victory over them in March.

 

71' There's the change that was expected to come earlier. Rondon finally has a strike partner as Martinez, last season's leading scorer in MLS, comes on at the expense of Machis.

70' WHAT A CHANCE! Armani is forced into his first save of the match, and it's a massive one as he reacts expertly to parry Hernandez's fierce effort from 12 yards, after the full-back was played through delightfully over the top by Rincon!

68' A second Argentina change in the space of four minutes sees Lo Celso replace Acuna in midfield, after the latter replaced the former in the starting XI today.

66' Yet another delay as the referee gets word that the VAR team is taking a closer look at a coming together that resulted in a goal kick for Argentina. There was nothing in it, but it still takes them a good minute for the referee to allow play to continue.

64' Argentina's first change of the match sees Martinez, the game's only scorer, replaced by Di Maria. That should see the Albiceleste transition to a more traditional 4-3-3, with Messi and Di Maria on either side of Aguero.

62' Machis and Soteldo are linking up nicely down the left flank. The substitute plays the former into space, but his cross is deflected behind. Argentina fail to effectively clear its lines following the subsequent corner, as the pressure stays on.

60' The training staff are called out to attend to Machis, and this would be a big blow for Venezuela should he not be able to continue. He's in fine form in front of goal, scoring twice against Bolivia in its final group match. It looks like he's dealing with an arm injury, but the way he popped back up suggests he will be fine to carry on.

 

58' Again Argentina is getting into a bit of a dangerous rut, content to let Venezuela keep possession, inviting them forward as just about everyone is behind the ball. Now can Dudamel's side find the necessary quality to take advantage?

56' The first change of the match is made by Venezuela, and it's an attacking switch as Soteldo comes into midfield, taking the place of Del Pino.

54' Possession is being enjoyed by La Vinotinto, but it is struggling to find its way into the dangerous areas. A patient spell on the ball eventually amounts to nothing, before Aguero is picked out on an Argentina counter. The striker dribbles his way beyond a pair of defenders, before navigating his way around two more through sheer bullish determination, but eventually a heavy touch sees the ball run behind.

52' Venezuela is attempting to pack more bodies in the penalty area, in the hopes of freeing up space for Rondon, who has been closely marked in this match. That's where bringing on someone like Martinez, his own scoring ability aside, could really help.

50' Ronald Hernandez sends a long ball across the pitch, but it misses its target. The linesman signals a throw-in for Argentina.

FACT

Argentina is playing in the Copa America quarterfinals for the 10th time, only failing to appear in 2001 when it did not participate in the competition; it has progressed to the final in four of the last five editions (losing each time).

 

48' Encouraging from Argentina! Martinez is played through by a delicious ball from Paredes, as he bursts forward into space, but the end result is a letdown as his shot smacks the outside of the post and goes behind!

47' Nasty coming together! Tagliafico does well to win a free-kick on the left flank, but the subsequent delivery is too close to Farinez who easily punches clear. Pezzella still tries to attack it, and winds up crashing through the keeper well after the ball is gone! It certainly looked a bad foul, but somehow he's not booked!

46' Venezuela gets the second half underway! No changes for either side at the interval.

The tempo of the match should certainly pick up over the final 45 minutes with Venezuela forced to come out of their shell and press for an equaliser. Dudamel might not want to wait long to bring on Martinez up top, with Rondon certainly in line to benefit from having another striker to play off of.

Lautaro Martinez rewarded Argentina for its high-flying start as he provided it with an early lead at the Maracana, but it's been a rather stale affair since with neither side managing to create much going forward. Venezuela has done well to claw its way back into the match after falling behind, and that should offer it plenty of encouragement ahead of the second half.

45'+4' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 1 - 0 VENEZUELA

45'+2' VITAL CHALLENGE! Excellent tracking from Rosales, who does really well to spot and stick with the run of Martinez, sliding in at the far post to prevent him from getting on the end of Acuna's teasing cross.

45' There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of this first half.

44' The bookings piling up once again at the end of this first half, as Rondon becomes the third Venezuela player to see yellow, this for a foul on Paredes.

42' Acuna is a little bit too eager to win the ball back for his side high up the pitch, and becomes the second Argentina player booked as he fouls Murillo.

40' Venezuela applys an encouraging spell of pressure, as a free-kick followed by a corner keep Argentina hemmed into defence. The end result is a free header for Chancellor, but he gets the contact all wrong as his header sails harmlessly over the bar.

 

38' Well despite how it has played out since the goal, it is nicely set up for the second half. Venezuela will surely have to press for an equaliser, and that should afford Argentina space on the break. Only a matter of time before this match becomes stretched.

36' Suddenly the referee is showing some leniency, with Aguero escaping a booking for a hard and poorly timed challenge on Chancellor, who is left writhing on the ground in pain. Encouragingly, though, the centre-back is able to get up under his own power and walk off the knock.

34' The match has struggled to develop much of a flow since the goal. It's been rather stop-start, with Argentina a lot more compact as it is showing far less desire to get after the Venezuela defence, which is surprising given all the success it had early on.

32' Roberto Rosales sends a teasing cross into the area, but Franco Armani intercepts the ball. Jhon Murillo sends a cross into the box, but the Argentina's defence clears the ball to safety. Dangerous moments for Argentina now.

FACT

Of the quarter-finalists, Venezuela has allowed the most opposition shots (46) and has attempt the fewest (32) in the group stages.

 

30' Herrera hesitates! Venezuela work it around cleverly as they present Herrera with a decent opening just inside the penalty area, but he's slow to take it as he tries to switch onto his left, allowing Otamendi to recover and snuff out the chance.

28' Argentina has to be careful not to let Venezuela back into this match. It has really taken its foot off the gas, and the Vinotino are growing in confidence as a result. Still plenty of time left at the Maracana.

26' Penalty appeals denied! Machis puts together a nice little burst as he gets forward and into the penalty area, before going to ground following contact from Foyth. It was a clean, fair challenge from the full-back, though, and a good decision by the referee to wave play on.

24' The match has entered a cagey spell with things largely contained in midfield over the last five minutes. Venezuela is certainly spending a lot more time in possession than it was early on though, offering its supporters signs of encouragement going forward.

22' The intensity has cooled a bit following that determined start from Argentina, but the damage is certainly done. Venezuela will have to employ a very different approach than it is used to, trailing for the first time at this Copa America.

20' VAR ALERT! The referee makes the VAR signal and he's going to review that incident in the box from earlier. This could be a penalty for Argentina! Let's see what he decides. Referee Roldan signals NO PENALTY for Argentina after a VAR review!

FACT

Argentina averages 5.6 goals per game against Venezuela in Copa America; it is the highest average between two teams who have faced each other on more than one occasion in the competition (28 goals in five games).

 

18' Better from Venezuela, which enjoys its first attacking spell of the match. It wins a corner, before Murillo eventually sees a shot blocked which nearly falls kindly for Rondon, but he fouls Tagliafico in an attempt to get onto the end of it and the pressure is relieved.

16' The bookings are really piling up here, with Martinez going into the book for Argentina as he fouled Rosales with a late challenge. The referee has set a dangerous precedent.

15' Another yellow card for Venezuela as Herrera goes into the book for a strong foul on Foyth.

13' And now there's a stoppage as the referee gets word in his headset that there might have been an incident worthy of another look. It's for a possible handball in the penalty area, but after two minutes of listening to his earpiece, he waves play on, never going across to have a look. That seems quite an unnecessary delay.

 

12' More problems mount for Venezuela as its skipper Rincon picks up an early booking for a bad foul. This certainly hasn't been the start it was hoping for.

10' GOAL!!! ARGENTINA OFF AND RUNNING! It is rewarded for its high-flying start as Martinez smartly redirects Aguero's strike into the back of the net following a corner! All of Argentina can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Sergio Aguero with the assist and Lautaro Martinez with the goal.

9' Another close call for the Albiceleste as Aguero is nearly played through following a tidy bit of interplay down the left. One-way traffic right now, with Venezuela really struggling to get their footing in this match.

7' Martinez wins Argentina's second corner of the match, and the ensuing delivery is nodded on by Pezzella, straight into the path of Martinez. The striker is taken a bit by surprise as the ball falls kindly to him a few yards out, but he can't sort his footing as it bounces tamely off him and safely into the arms of Farinez.

5' Argentina commanding the lion's share of possession in these opening stages, certainly playing with a confidence that was lacking a bit throughout the group stage. Perhaps that win over Qatar really did flip a switch in their heads.

3' Almost a dream start! Venezuela caught napping a bit in defence as Martinez plays Aguero through with a simple pass, but Farinez does really well to get across and close down the angle, making a smart save with his legs as he turns it behind at the near post!

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 is Wilmar Roldan. He was the referee when Venezuela took on Peru in a Group A game.

READ| Venezuela v Argentina: Rondon confident of containing Messi

-   The Maracana stadium, with a capacity of around 80,000, is a historic venue as it has hosted the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and the La Albiceleste themselves. The 2016 Olympics gold medal match between Brazil and Germany was also held there. The 2019 Copa America final will also happen here.

-   Argentina qualified to the knockout stage as Group B runner-up and Venezuela qualified by finishing second in Group A.

-   Five-time Ballon d'Or winner and Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has to inspire his team to put behind its lacklustre performance so far in the tournament and do well in the knockout stage. La Albiceleste lost its first game of the tournament 0-2 against Colombia. Messi scored his country's first goal this tournament in its second game, through a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Paraguay. Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero were on the scoresheet in the nation's 2-0 win over Qatar in the last group game.

-   Venezuela played out two 0-0 draws against Peru and Brazil in its opening games. Darwin Machis scored two and Josef Martinez scored one in a 3-1 win over Bolivia, which took the side into the last eight.

-   Argentina and Venezuela have played each other five times at the Copa America and La Albiceleste has come out on top all five times.

-   Venezuela made the semifinals at the Copa America for the first time ever in 2011 in Argentina.

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

-    Colombia faces Chile in another quarterfinal match today, which starts four hours after the Argentina-Venezuela game begins. The winner of that game will face either Uruguay or Peru.

-    Host Brazil beat Paraguay 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out yesterday, after both teams couldn't score goals for 120 minutes. The Selecao is the first team to make the semifinal and it will play either Argentina or Venezuela in the semifinal.

Team news-

ARGENTINA XI: Franco Armani; Juan Foyth, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo de Paul, Leandro Paredes, Marcos Acuna; Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Lautaro Martinez.

SUBS: Matias Suarez, Guido Rodriguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Milton Casco, Renzo Saravia, Agustin Marchesin, Juan Musso, Ramiro Funes Mori, Paulo Dybala, Roberto Pereyra, Angel Di Maria, Guido Pizarro.

VENEZUELA XI: Wuilker Farinez; Ronald Hernandez, Jhon Chancellor, Luis Del Pino, Roberto Rosales; Jhon Murillo, Yangel Herrera, Junior Moreno, Tomas Rincon, Darwin Machis; Salomon Rondon.

SUBS: Fernando Aristeguieta, Yeferson Soteldo, Joel Graterol, Josef Martinez, Luis Seijas, Rolf Feltscher, Juan Pablo Anor, Yordan Osorio, Rafael Romo, Jefferson Savarino.

 

Welcome back to the LIVE coverage of the Argentina vs Venezuela quarterfinal fixture.