Argentina got their Copa America 2021 campaign up and running, following a 1-0 victory over well-rested Uruguay in Brasilia. Guido Rodriguez scored in the 13th minute, heading in a cross from captain Lionel Messi, which proved enough to seal all three points.
La Celeste, playing their first game of the tournament, were spearheaded by their prolific duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. But they were lacklustre for most of the game.
In fact, the record Copa champions failed to muster a single effort on target. The 2011 champions felt they should've won a penalty in the first half when Cavani was hacked down inside the box.
It wasn't the most promising of starts for Uruguay, who will hope to find their feet against Chile in their next game on Monday. Meanwhile, Argentina will face Paraguay on the same day.
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On that day, let's have a look at five major talking points from the match:
#1 Argentina's changes work
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni made a few changes to his line-up, which started in the opening game draw against Chile.
Guido Rodriguez, who came in for Leandro Paredes, made his inclusion count with an early strike. He latched onto a brilliant cross from Lionel Messi to break the deadlock and eventually seal the match.
However, there was little else to celebrate for the original hosts of the championship. Argentina fizzled out following a solid opening stanza, with only their captain doing most of the work. Their counter-attacking game left a lot to be desired too, and Argentina could've easily won against insipid Uruguay by a lot more.
#2 Uruguay denied a penalty in the first half
Having failed to test Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, Uruguay thought they should have got a penalty in the 27th minute. Edinson Cavani was brought down inside the area following a heavy challenge from Rodriguez, only for the referee to call for play to continue.
Uruguay were not happy with the decision, as it looked like a nailed-on penalty, but the VAR wasn't even consulted. Replays showed there was a clear denial of a goalscoring opportunity, and there should have been a spot-kick. So Uruguay would feel they were robbed of a point in the match.
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#3 Lautaro Martinez has another underwhelming outing
For the second game in a row, Argentina's Lautaro Martinez endured a listless outing. Far from his usual rip-roaring self, the striker was in no man's land the entire time he was on the pitch. It was no surprise to see that Martinez was Argentina's first substitution of the night.
In the third minute, Nicolas Gonzalez produced a nice burst of pace through midfield and fed the Inter Milan star, but Martinez he failed to get a shot away. A scramble inside the box saw the ball pop up just a fraction behind Martinez, who then steered it towards the byline with his heels.
That was about as close as it got for him before he was hooked off in the 52nd minute.
#4 Uruguay's veteran strike duo fails to get going
Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are one of the best strike partnerships in international football. But neither could pose a threat to the Argentinian defence in this game, besides the penalty incident as the veteran forwards failed to fire. In fact, between the two of them, there were no shots on target.
Midway through the second half, Matias Vina lifted a cross into the box, which evaded both target men. It flew past the head of Cavani and the outstretched foot of Suarez, which was the closest the ex-Barcelona man came to scoring against Argentina on the night.
#5 Argentina have work to do to win Copa America 2021
Argentina rightfully garnered plaudits for a much-improved display against Uruguay, but it wouldn't be right to consider them as favourites.
Lionel Messi continues to carry much of their burden. So his brilliance alone won't be enough to guide the Sky Blues to Copa America glory, as evident in the last three editions of the competition.
It's true that they've only played Venezuela and Peru so far, while Argentina have been up against more formidable teams like Chile and Uruguay. But the Seleccao have been in good form than Argentina and could prevail over the latter unless the Albiceleste find their shooting boots soon.