Group A winners Argentina secure a comprehensive win against Bolivia

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Argentina finished off their group stage campaign in style with a comfortble 4-1 win against Bolivia in Group of the CONMEBOL Copa América 2021. With this the Albiceleste confirm a quarterfinal date against Ecuador.

Alejandro Gómez, Lionel Messi (twice) y Lautaro Martínez scored the goals for the Group winners, while Erwin Saavedra scored a concelation for the Bolivians who depart the competition.

As many expected, Lionel Scaloni’s side took control of the game early and just 3 minutes into the game they created their first clear chance. Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez set up Sergio Agüero in the box but his effort was impressively stopped by Carlos Lampe while Ángel Correa failed to convert the rebound.

Lampe could do nothing to deny the Argentina opener which came moments later in spectacular fashion. Lionel Messi clipped a perfect, lofted through ball to ‘Papu’ Gómez who fired a powerful volley to give Argentina the 1-0 lead.

Following the goal the game continued as it had begun; Argentina with a lot of possession and Bolivia focused on defending their box.

Around the 30 minute mark the lively, dangerous “Papu” Gómez was found in the area and Colombian referee Andrés Rojas pointed to the spot. Messi made no mistake with a strong finish into the corner and the lead was doubled.

Following the goal Bolivia rallied slightly and Diego Bejarano hit la verde‘s first effort of the game which was well saved by  Franco Armani before Jeyson Chura had another effort impressively thwarted by the River Plate stopper.

With halftime approaching Argentina worked another chance with Correa’s shot pushed away with a strong hand by Lampe, ensuring Agüero couldn’t convert the rebound.

Just before the break the group winners were able to add a third. Agüero set up his good friend and new Barcelona teammate Messi who applied a composed, first time volley over the head of the unfortunate Bolivian keeper.

Agüero was lively and dangerous but despite working two more chances for himself he was unable to find the net. After a slick, swift passing move, Erwin Saavedra fired a powerful finish into the roof of the net to score his second of the CONMEBOL Copa América.

However the celebrations were cut short moments later as Argentina reasserted their dominance. Second half substitute Lautaro Martínez applied a simple close-range finish to make it 4-1.

Lampe was once again the star man for Bolivia in a tournament to forget for the side as they finished bottom with zero points.

The Always Ready goalkeeper denied a Messi freekick and made another excellent reaction save on a heavily deflected effort in the box.

And with that Argentina progress to the knockout round as Group A winners, unbeaten with 10 points and 3 wins. They will now face Ecuador in Goiania on Saturday.

NUMBERS FROM THE GAME

• The match between Bolivia y Argentina was the tenth meeting of the sides on nuetral ground in all competitions. Argentina didn’t lose any of these games (10 wins, 1 draw).

• Argentina has lost 2 of their last 26 games at the CONMEBOL Copa América (15 wins, 9 draws, 2 losses), in 2011, 2015 and 2016 they were eliminated on penalties. Their only losses came against Colombia (0-2) and Brazil (0-2) in 2019.

• Lionel Scaloni is on a run of 17 games without defeat (10 wins, 7 draws) and he equals Guillermo Stábile for the third longest unbeaten streak as Argentina boss. If they don’t lost against Ecuador he will equal Marcelo Bielsa’s record (18). Alfio Basile has the all-time record of 31 games between 1991 and 1993.

• Lionel Messi is now the player with most appearances for the Argentine national team (148). With the two goals tonight he is now the fourth top Argentine scorer in the history of the CONMEBOL Copa América. He is one behind Gabriel Batistuta and José Moreno and 5 behind leader Norberto Méndez.

• Lionel Messi had 4 shots on goal against Bolivia which is his highest at the CONMEBOL Copa América.