Argentina kickstarted their South American Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Ecuador at La Bombonera on Thursday night. Lionel Messi's penalty early in the first half proved to be the match-winner. La Pulga slotted the spot-kick perfectly to give his side the lead after Lucas Ocampos was fouled inside the box.
La Albiceleste managed to scrape past an extremely physical Ecuador side. Lionel Scaloni would be happy to bag all the three points as his side endured a scrappy game.
Argentina tried to work their magic through Messi but the visitors broke the game's rhythm quite often and managed to prevent the hosts from dominating.
Here's how each player fared for the Argentina national team:
Argentina Player Ratings
Franco Armani- 7/10
Franco Armani did not have much to do for the entirety of the game. However, he did turn up as a sweeper-keeper to stop any of Ecuador's attacks from materialising. He was quick to come out of his line to deal with any immediate danger.
Gonzalo Montiel- 7/10
Gonzalo Montiel put in a well-rounded performance. Although he was troubled by the physicality of the visitors, he did considerably well. He made 4 interceptions, won 2 tackles and made 6 recoveries.
Lucas Martinez- 7/10
Lucas Martinez put in a solid performance at the back. He looked in complete control as he thwarted any attempts that came his way.
Martinez won 6 duels and made 6 recoveries at the back. He also looked quite comfortable carrying the ball forward as he linked up well with the midfielders.
Nicolas Otamendi- 7/10
Nicolas Otamendi was rock solid for Argentina. The former Manchester City star led the back-line as he won 3 duels, made 4 interceptions and recovered possession for the hosts thrice.
Nicolas Tagliafico- 6/10
Nicolas Tagliafico endured a tough night as Renato Ibarra was a constant threat. He was a troubled figure for the majority of the night and could not create much going forward.
Rodrigo de Paul- 7/10
Rodrigo de Paul combined well with Leandro Paredes in the centre of the park as the duo took control of the game for the hosts. He also provided an outlet on the wing as he looked to link with Messi upfront and clear some space for La Pulga to thrive upon.
Leandro Paredes- 7/10
Leandro Paredes orchestrated play for Argentina as he managed the flow of the game. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder proved to be a vital link between attack and defence. Paredes completed the most passes throughout the game with a tally of 68.
Marcos Acuna- 6/10
Marcos Acuna was an outcast for the majority of the game but performed his defensive duties perfectly to neutralise any attack from materialising. Acuna made 6 recoveries, won 6 duels and won 2 tackles in the centre of the park.
Lionel Messi- 8/10
Lionel Messi bagged all three points for Argentina as his penalty in the 13th minute proved to be the match-winner. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner put in a massive shift. Messi created 2 chances, won 6 duels and completed 2 dribbles throughout the course of the game. He was the focal point of Argentina's attack.
Lucas Ocampos- 7/10
Lucas Ocampos put in an impressive performance as he was a constant threat up front, winning the penalty for Argentina. Ocampos nearly scored his side's second goal of the night but was denied by Alexander Dominguez's brilliant save. The 26-year-old made 7 recoveries for La Albiceleste.
Lautaro Martinez- 6/10
Lautaro Martinez had a decent outing as he kept the visitors' back-line engaged throughout the night. The Inter Milan forward won 6 duels, created 3 chances and also made 3 recoveries for his side.
Eduardo Salvio- 6/10
Eduardo Salvio was brought on for Acuna in the 66th minute of the game but failed to make an impression.
Lucas Alario- 6/10
Although Lucas Alario did not have much time to make a substantial contribution, he disrupted the visitors' back-line to cause them enough trouble.
Juan Foyth- N/A
Juan Foyth did not have much to do as Argentina were already in control by the time he entered the pitch.
Nicolas Dominguez- N/A
Came on too late to earn a rating.Published 09 Oct 2020, 10:35 IST