Footy Times

Copa America: Messi at the double as Argentina beat Bolivia 4-1

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Lionel Messi celebrated his record 148th international cap with two goals as Argentina trounced Bolivia 4-1 to clinch top spot in Copa America Group A on Monday.

Messi had equalled Javier Mascherano’s Argentinian caps record of 147 last week, marked his 148th appearance in style, setting up the opening goal before bagging a brace of his own.

The victory at Cuiaba’s Arena Pantanal stadium sees Argentina advance to a quarter-final on Saturday against Ecuador, the fourth placed finishers from Group B.

Bolivia, who had already been eliminated after three defeats in their opening three games, were outclassed from the outset by a rampant Argentina.

Argentina opened the scoring in the 6th minute after Alejandro Gomez scored a stunning goal, which was played to him by  Messi. He scored his second and Argentina’s third in the 41st minute after he chipped the ball over the keeper who was off his line to give his team a 3-0 lead going into half-time. 

Bolivia scored their first goal from open play in the tournament, after Erwin Saavedra’s brilliant strike which helped them grab a consolation goal. Just 2 minutes after he was brought in, Lautaro Martinez scored a goal, which ensured an easy 4-1 win for Argentina to place them at the top of the Zona Sur. 

In Monday’s other Group A game, Uruguay clinched second place in the table after downing Paraguay 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro.

Edinson Cavani’s first half spot kick proved decisive for ‘La Celeste’, sending Uruguay into a quarter-final against Colombia on Saturday.

Paraguay finished third and will now play Peru on Friday. Chile, who finished fourth in Group A, face a daunting task against hosts Brazil on Friday.

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