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Argentina 1-1 Paraguay: Player ratings for the Albiceleste as Nicolas Gonzalez's debut goal rescues a point | World Cup qualifiers

Argentina huffed and puffed, but were held to a 1-1 draw by Paraguay
Argentina huffed and puffed, but were held to a 1-1 draw by Paraguay
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 13 Nov 2020, 10:14 IST
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Argentina dropped points for the first time in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as resolute Paraguay held them to a 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires.

Angel Romero struck from the spot for Los Guaraníes after being fouled inside the box by Lucas Martinez, but Nicolas Gonzalez equalised for the hosts just before half-time after latching onto Giovani Lo Celso's inch-perfect corner kick.

La Albiceleste, who looked disjointed in the attack during the first half, improved slightly after the break by creating a handful of chances but lacked the end product to kill the tie off. Lionel Messi even had a goal chalked off midway through the second half.

Both sides eventually shared the spoils with Argentina climbing above Brazil, provisionally, with seven points and Paraguay up to fourth with five. Now let's grade all the Argentina players for their performances today:

Argentina Player Ratings


Franco Armani - 6.5/10

Armani faced only two shots all night, one of which was the penalty, which he could do nothing about. He did well to collect Romero's corner kick in the last few minutes though.

Gonzalo Montiel - 5.5/10

The 23-year old got ahead of his own self at times, jumping into rash challenges, for which he also went into the books late on. Looked really nervy in the defense today.

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Lucas Martinez - 6/10

He, too, was reckless early on, conceding a penalty after bringing down Almiron inside the box, which allowed Paraguay to steal a march on his side. He regained composure as the match wore on.

Nicolas Otamendi - 6/10

Paraguay's high-press threw Otamendi under the bus initially as he struggled to play out from the back. Most of his passes were backwards. The ex-Manchester City centre-back even charged out of line on occasions in the second half, but to no avail.

Rodrigo De Paul - 6/10

Like his defensive counterparts, the Udinese winger was aggressive off the ball too and went into the books at the stroke of half-time for hacking down Romero. From an attacking standpoint, he offered very little besides that one rasping shot in the opening quarter which tested Paraguayan 'keeper Antony Silva.

Leandro Paredes - 7.5/10

One of the best players on the pitch today, Paredes was excellent in both boxes. He was the battering ram which obstructed Paraguay's movements with fine tackles. He also drove the ball out of tight spots with majestic dribbles. The PSG star won all eight of his duels and completed 95% of his passes.

Exequiel Palacios - N/A

Palacios lasted only half an hour for Argentina as he was taken off with a back injury he sustained in a duel with Romero.

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Nicolas Gonzalez - 8/10

The Stuttgart forward opened his account for Argentina by rising the highest to meet Lo Celso's wonderful corner kick and rescue a point for his side, though his impact diminished after the break.

Lionel Messi - 7.5/10

The lifeblood of Argentina, the captain was once again at the thick of the things. He constantly fought back possession in the midfield by harrying Paraguay with high press, though Messi once again struggled for end product in the final third.

He was unlucky to have a goal ruled for offside while his free-kicks, barring that one which forced a fantastic save from Silva, were uncharacteristically poor too, hitting the wall on all the other three occasions.

Lucas Ocampos - 6/10

Ocampos made a resounding start to his international career last year, netting against Germany and Ecuador, but he's found the going to be tough in competitive Argentina games this year. Today was another disappointing performance from the Sevilla star, who rarely threatened and offered little in terms of creation too.

Lautaro Martinez - 6/10

He linked up well with Messi at times and laid a couple of good passes in attacking areas, but the Argentina striker was not spectacular. Martinez had just one shot on target all night, and even that was harmless as Silva comfortably saved it.

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Substitutes

Giovani Lo Celso - 8/10

A man of the match performance from Lo Celso, who came on for the injured Palacios. He brought tremendous urgency and guile to Argentina's otherwise insipid attack and even set up Gonzalez's equalizer with an inch-perfect corner kick. The Tottenham man was unlucky to have another assist ruled out for Messi in the second half. It was a glorious run from his before the cut back to the skipper.

Angel Di Maria - 6.5/10

Di Maria came on at the hour mark as Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni looked to amp up the attack, but the PSG star struggled to really influence the game

Lucas Alario - N/A

One has to wonder how an in-form player like Alario, who's been in a fine run of form for Bayer Leverkusen this season with seven league goals, was left on the bench. Moreover, he was subbed on only in the 83rd minute for Argentina, while he should've been brought on much sooner.

Nicolas Dominguez - N/A

Dominguez came on with Alario but looked really poor with the ball. He also lacked the pace to make transitions and did not have any impact on the game at all

Published 13 Nov 2020, 10:14 IST
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