Lionel Messi was shackled however Argentina flourished to beat Venezuela 2-Zero on Friday (Saturday AEST) and arrange a Copa America semi-final towards Brazil.
Marked carefully by Venezuelan defenders, Messi didn’t impress at Maracana Stadium, however his teammates took benefit to present their most stable efficiency in 4 matches.
Brazil and Argentina will face off on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao Stadium. The Brazilians superior on Thursday (Friday AEST) after beating Paraguay on penalties.
The practically 50,000 Brazilian and Argentine followers at Maracana hinted at how intense the environment will probably be of their semi-final. The Brazilians jokingly sang about Messi’s lack of titles for his nationwide staff, whereas Argentines poked enjoyable by singing Diego Maradona is healthier than Pele.
“We now have to play in the identical manner we’ve, and never considering it’s our arch-rival,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni stated concerning the upcoming conflict.
“It will likely be a match for the individuals of soccer to reside. Not as a lot for us on the bench.”
Striker Lautaro Martinez, who was chosen man of the match, scored with a back-heel shot after 10 minutes, deflecting Sergio Aguero’s effort from the sting of the field into the purpose.
One other blocked shot by Aguero led to midfielder Giovani Lo Celso doubling the lead within the 74th.
Lo Celso, who entered just some minutes earlier than, simply pushed the ball into the empty web to seal Argentina’s win.
“Brazil will probably be a really powerful rival, and that isn’t solely as a result of they’ll play at dwelling,” Lautaro stated.
“We had an incredible first half. We’re displaying that in each match we give all of it.”
Argentina, again for the primary time within the stadium the place they misplaced the 2014 World Cup remaining 1-Zero to Germany, had been the one staff attempting to attain at first of the quarter-final and managed to take action when Lautaro transformed their third clear likelihood.
Venezuela’s first alternative got here solely after 40 minutes, with a header by defender Jhon Chancellor.
The story of the match didn’t change a lot within the second half, with a slower Argentina nonetheless having fun with one of the best possibilities.
At 71 minutes, shortly earlier than Lo Celso scored Argentina’s second, Venezuela striker Ronald Hernandez was stopped by goalkeeper Franco Armani in the important thing save of the match.
“It was a really deserved win,” Armani stated. “We’re rising on this event, at all times with confidence. It is a group of nice individuals and nice gamers.”
Scaloni, but to place out an unchanged line-up, guess on central defender Juan Foyth as proper again to present his staff extra defensive stability, though Foyth didn’t advance a lot to assist up entrance.
Venezuela performed with out their two beginning central defenders, Yordan Osorio and Mikel Villanueva. Osorio had a fever and Villanueva suffered from muscular issues. They had been changed by Chancellor and Jose Rosales.
Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel stated it was bitter to be eradicated by Argentina within the quarter-finals once more. That additionally occurred within the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
“This defeat won’t make us change something,” Dudamel stated. “With out the ball we did very effectively. With the ball, I really feel we’re somewhat in debt at this time.”
Dudamel added a Brazil-Argentina semifinal will probably be “good for the present”.