Argentina 1-1 Paraguay
Paraguay’s promising start continues in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers as they held a strong Argentina squad to a 1-1 draw last Thursday evening.
The Albirroja were led by Angel Romero who scored the team’s only goal early in the first half. But after holding the lead for a large stretch in this match, Eduardo Berizzo’s men were faced with a huge scare.
Argentina were in danger of losing this one especially when Exequiel Palacios was carted off due to an injury, but they were able to fight back and they almost stole this game off the bounce.
Nicolas Gonzalez suddenly had them back on equal terms when he scored via a header and then the Albiceleste pretty much controlled the tempo for the rest of the evening.
However, they were left to rue on their missed chances in the end. One of which is when Lionel Messi scored a crucial goal only to be disallowed by the VAR.
Because of this, Argentina and Paraguay shared the points, although they remain in their respective positions at the CONMEBOL standings.
The Argentines still sit on top with seven points while Paraguay are three notches below them with five points.
While the World Cup 2022 odds predicted this to be a low-scoring affair, SBOTOP fans weren’t left disappointed because of the number of World Cup 2022 highlights produced in this tiff.
Highlights of the game
There was some concern ahead for Argentina in this match when they were missing their attackers in Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero. But this gave an opportunity for some of their rotation players to shine.
Team manager Lionel Scaloni opted to give his younger stars more playing time as he plugged in Nicolas Gonzalez, Lucas Ocampos, and Exequiel Palacios into the starting XI.
Both teams exchanged blows during the first 18 minutes, although neither created any great chances.
Paraguay would get on the board when Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron drew a penalty when he darted past multiple Argentine defenders. Angel Romero would eventually capitalise and score the first goal of the match.
Down 1-0, the Albiceleste were put in a predicament when Exequiel Palacios hobbled off after sustaining a back injury during a nasty collision in the 27th minute.
Giovani Lo Celso would come on in his place and he created instant impact when he helped his countrymen draw level.
The Tottenham playmaker would launch a beautiful cross during a corner kick in the 41st minute, and Nicolas Gonzalez came flying in for a wonderful header.
With momentum shifting in Argentina’s favour, Lionel Scaloni’s men went on to force the issue.
Lautaro Martinez would have two opportunities for the Albiceleste when Paraguay failed to clear the ball, but his shots were not on target in those occasions.
In the 57th minute, Argentina would find the back of the net once more as they put together a brilliant passing display.
Giovani Lo Celso weaved past multiple defenders and he cunningly curled the ball back to Lionel Messi, whose low shot whizzed past the hands of Antony Silva.
But unfortunalely for Argentina, the referees did not count the goal because of a foul during the play.
Barcelona magician Lionel Messi had another chance he was assigned to take the free-kick near the penalty area at the 72nd minute, but Antony Silva managed to tip the ball over at the crossbar at full stretch.
His last chance came during a stoppage-time free-kick, but his attempt was sent into the wall and both teams hung on for a point.
Nicolas Gonzalez’s goal in this game was his first ever playing for the Argentina national team. That goal was the first time since 2000 where the Albiceleste scored off of a corner kick in a World Cup qualifier fixture.
Angel Di Maria has come on for Argentina for the 103rd time ever. The veteran winger is now three caps shy of fifth-placed Diego Simeone.
Paraguay’s defence should be given a lot of credit as they were able to prevent Lionel Messi from scoring on six out of 10 occasions.
In addition, the Albirroja are now undefeated in their last four World Cup qualifiers on the road (W3, D1). They have lost just one of their last seven away to Argentina.
The Albiceleste will take a short breather and then they will fly over to the Estadio Nacional de Lima to visit Peru on Tuesday night.
On the other hand, the Albirroja will host Bolivia over at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco on the same night.
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