Argentina ease past Venezuela to set up Brazil semifinal
Argentina eased past Venuzuela 2-0 on Saturday to set up a tantalising Copa America semi-final against hosts Brazil.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was involved in both goals as the Albiceleste aim for their third straight final in all competitions after impressing at the iconic Maracana stadium.
Striker Lautaro Martinez found the net for the second game running to put a much improved Argentina side in front just after 10 minutes with a clever back-heeled finish, diverting Aguero’s low drive following a corner swung in by captain Lionel Messi who had a quiet game throughout. This was the Inter Milan forward’s sixth goal from only 10 caps for his national team.
Despite boasting more ball possession, Venezuela created little to shake otherwise vulnerable Argentina defense, except few attacks in the second half in a bid to come back to the game. But keeper Franco Armani made a strong save to deny Ronald Hernandez from finding a game changing eqaulizer.
To ease the mounting pressure going into the final whistle, substitute Giovani Lo Celso doubled the lead in the 74th minute, tapping home a loose ball into the empty net after Aguero’s another attempt squirmed through the hands of Venezuela goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez.
Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan could not help to improve the fragmented game between two battling sides as he showed six yellow cards and stopped play on a number of occasions to consult about incidents with the video assistant referee, a dubious phenomena going on in the tournament.
Lionel Scaloni’s side will play eternal rivlas Brazil in Mineirao on Wednesday after the tournament hosts survived the scare to overcome Paraguay on penalties following a 0-0 draw.
This will be a perfect moment for Messi and company to recover from the disappointments of the last two editions of the prestigious Copa America where they were beaten by Chile on penalties to inflict two times world champions a fourth loss in the past five tournaments they contested.