Football

Argentina v Paraguay Live Commentary & Result, 13/11/2020, WC Qualification South America

78′ Yellow Card Gonzalo Ariel Montiel

76′ Perez has only just come on, but he’s already shown a yellow card for a foul on Paredes. 

74′ Lezcano has been thoroughly uninvolved in the match and will be replaced with 16 minutes remaining. Hernan Perez is his replacement.

74′ The second Paraguay change sees Morel on for Villasanti. 

73′ WHAT A CHANCE! Messi forces a fantastic diving save out of the goalkeeper – with Silva just managing to get his fingertips to it to push it over the crossbar.

72′ Gomez pushes Lo Celso over just outside the penalty area, giving Messi a real chance to test Silva from just outside the 18-yard box.

70′ Messi’s burst of pace takes him to the edge of the penalty area where he lays it off for Martinez, but the striker’s swivelled shot is hit directly at the goalkeeper.

68′ It’s all Argentina at the minute as Paraguay are happy to camp all 11 men inside their own half and repel the pressure. The Albiceleste have just over 20 minutes to score the winner and keep their 100% record ahead of Brazil’s third match tomorrow against Venezuela.

66′ A cross comes in from the right for Martinez, but the striker’s header is put right to Silva, who catches it confidently. 

64′ The VAR decision took its time, but it does ultimately appear to be the correct one as Gonzalez’s tackle to win the ball was far too physical to go unpunished. 

62′ Argentina’s last 1-1 draw was 12 matches ago – also against Paraguay.

60′ Ocampos is replaced by Di Maria on the hour, with Argentina still searching for a winner. 

58′ MESSI SCORES BUT VAR OVERTURNS IT! Messi’s late run into the penalty area was picked up by Lo Celso before the captain’s first-time finish low into the net – but an earlier foul by Dominguez on Romero in the build-up seems to be the reason why the goal was wiped off! Scaloni is furious but it remains 1-1! 

55′ The free-kick is swung into the penalty area, where it appears to hit off the arm of Otamendi. It falls to Gomez, who rashly turns and blazes his gilt-edged chance high over the crossbar! Immediately after missing, the captain turns around in search of the referee in request of a penalty – but the match official motions for play to continue!

53′ Otamendi gives away a foul for a high boot on Gimenez – giving Paraguay a rare chance to attack in the second half.

51′ Martinez is played through on goal, rounds the keeper but fails to stick it in the empty net – missing his target with an off-balance shot. The striker was clearly offside in the build-up so it won’t draw too much criticism from his team-mates, but it isn’t a great effort. 

49′ Another Messi set-piece goes begging as his delivery is cleared away at the first time of asking from the near post. 

Á. Cardozo Lucena

Yellow Card

47′ Cardozo is booked for sticking out an arm and catching Gonzalez in the face while trying to shield the ball. It gives Argentina a chance to cross it in from a dangerous position.

46′ Paraguay get the match restarted from the kick-off! 

An enforced change in the first half will hamper Scaloni in the second, but either way he has a host of talent to pick from. With Lo Celso already making an impact almost immediately after entering the game, perhaps Alejandro Gomez or Di Maria can have a similar effect after tired legs have set in. For Eduardo Berizzo and Paraguay, they will no doubt feel a draw in Buenos Aires is a good result, and will try to nick a late winner should the opportunity present itself.   

The two teams enter the interval tied at 1-1, thanks to two goals from set-pieces. Almiron’s upending in the penalty area gave Romero a chance to give his nation the lead from the penalty spot – which he did with aplomb, though the lead was held for just 20 minutes. Despite Argentina’s poor play and inability to create from midfield, they found a way back into the match just four minutes from time, when Lo Celso’s corner found the head of Gonzalez. The draw seems a fair result at this stage of the proceedings, though Argentina’s bench could easily swing the match.

45′ + 3′ HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 1-1 PARAGUAY. 

45′ + 1′ De Paul lets his anger get the better of him, pushing over Romero near the touchline. It’s a booking for the Udinese winger. 

45′ The fourth official indicates there will be three minutes added for stoppages. 

43′ De Paul winds up and crashes a shot towards goal after latching onto the loose ball from well outside the penalty area. Silva sees it well and gets to palms to it, putting it out for a corner.

41′ ARGENTINA FIND THE EQUALISER! Lo Celso’s corner is met by Gonzalez, who rises highest and powers a header into the top corner! 1-1!

41′ Lo Celso makes his impact felt just 12 minutes after entering the match, assisting Gonzalez for the leveller. 

39′ Otamendi’s run makes it look as though a cross is forthcoming, but Messi instead whacks it towards goal but fails to get it past the wall. It’s a disappointing effort from the captain.

38′ Another foul – this time on Martinez – gives Argentina a chance to strike at goal from a free-kick.

36′ Argentina are forced to hold the ball around the centre-circle as they fail to break down the Paraguay midfield. A furious De Paul lunges into a challenge on Almiron after another failed pass as the match is really beginning to heat up in intensity.

34′ Paraguay’s last two wins have come thanks to a 1-0 scoreline, while Argentina have been shut out in each of their last two losses. 

31′ Messi takes the outswinging free-kick, but Robert Rojas got his head to it first and managed to clear the ball from immediate danger.

30′ Romero doesn’t learn his lesson the first time and goes into a sliding challenge on Nicolas Gonzalez just outside the Paraguay penalty area on the left. This time though – he’s shown a yellow card.

29′ Palacios will be unable to continue after sustaining an injury to his back. Lo Celso is his replacement. 

28′ Upon replay, it appears as though Romero’s knees wound up in the small of Palacios’ back. It was a wild challenge – but it’s promising that he doesn’t require the cart that was brought out for him.

26′ Play is stopped for Palacios, who is grabbing his lower back after an aerial duel with Romero left him on the ground in pain. He is receiving treatment but it’s unsure whether he’ll be able to continue.

23′ Argentina’s problems against Paraguay are persisting as their first attacking move after the goal comes to an end harmlessly after a simple catch from Silva.

21′ ROMERO GETS IT RIGHT FROM THE SPOT! The winger steps up and after a skip in his run-up, he sends the goalkeeper the wrong way! 1-0 to Paraguay!

19′ PENALTY TO PARAGUAY! Almiron is down in some pain after his slaloming run into the Argentina 18-yard box is ended abruptly by Martinez, whose swipe took both legs out from underneath the Newcastle forward. The visitors have the chance to take the lead!

17′ Paraguay have a decent chance down the right through Romero, but his cross goes unmet in the middle despite two waiting team-mates. The whistle blows to save their blushes, however, as the winger was offside prior to the cross.

15′ Otamendi pushes forward into Argentina’s half, but even he’s forced to pass backwards as the Albiceleste once again struggle in midfield. A quick pass forward into the channel for Ocampos is quickly cleared up by the defence as Paraguay look to start again.

13′ Messi is forced to turn in circles, avoiding midfielders as he waits for a team-mate to open up for a pass. De Paul appears to provide help, but his searching pass for Martinez is easily scooped up by Silva.

11′ Almiron’s cross on his favoured left foot is poorly taken, failing to get off the ground as it rolls neatly to Armani’s near post.

9′ Argentina’s first real passage of sustained pressure is wasted when Montiel’s rash cross from inside Paraguay’s penalty area winds up on the other side for a throw for the visitors.

7′ Gimenez cuts inside and takes a hopeful shot towards goal which sends Armani calmly to his right to collect the ball for a goal-kick.

5′ Paraguay have started positively, seeing more of the ball than their opponents and pressing them very high up the pitch; Otamendi has found it difficult to play out from the back already.

3′ Almiron wins an early corner for Paraguay, but the free header after the delivery goes unmet for the all-important second touch.

1′ Argentina get the match underway from the kick-off!

Paraguay make three changes from their 1-0 victory over Venezuela in Merida, as Robert Rojas and Balbuena start in defence over Blas Riveros and Alberto Espinola, while Andres Cubas is replaced in midfield by Cardozo. 

Argentina make just one change from their 2-1 win over Bolivia in La Paz last month, as Nicolas Tagliafico’s absence allows Gonzalez to start in the XI.

PARAGUAY SUBS: Oscar Romero, Raul Bobadilla, Richard Sanchez, Omar Alderete, Antonio Sanabria, Matias Rojas, Jorge Morel, Juan Escobar, Rodrigo Rojas, Hernan Perez, Alfredo Aguilar, Miguel Martinez.

PARAGUAY XI (4-3-3): Antony Silva; Robert Rojas, Fabian Balbuena, Gustavo Gomez (c), Junior Alonso; Gaston Gimenez, Angel Cardozo, Mathias Villasanti; Angel Romero, Dario Lezcano, Miguel Almiron.

ARGENTINA SUBS: Esteban Andrada, Emiliano Martinez, Nehuen Perez, Walter Kannemann, Facundo Medina, Alejandro Gomez, Guido Rodriguez, Nicolas Dominguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Joaquin Correa, Angel Di Maria, Lucas Alario.

ARGENTINA XI (3-4-3): Franco Armani; Nicolas Otamendi, Lucas Martinez, Gonzalo Montiel; Nicolas Gonzalez, Exequiel Palacios, Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul; Lucas Ocampos, Lautaro Martinez, Lionel Messi (c).

With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s look at how the two sides will line up – starting with the hosts!

Paraguay are also undefeated, but a 2-2 draw against Peru in Asuncion in their first fixture and a late 1-0 win over Venezuela are only good enough for fifth spot. The visitors have a decent track record against their hosts in the recent past, with the Albirroja losing just once in their last five meetings with Argentina (one win, three draws, one defeat).

Argentina find themselves in exclusive company after two qualifying matches, as they and Brazil are the only teams to win both of their opening fixtures. The Albiceleste successfully navigated a pair of close encounters, beating Ecuador 1-0 before winning a very difficult match 2-1 against Bolivia in La Paz. A return to Buenos Aires should boost Lionel Scaloni’s side, who are expected to take a battle for top spot in CONMEBOL right down to the wire.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Paraguay!

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