SAO PAULO (AP) — Argentina beat Uruguay 1-0 on Friday in its second match at Copa America, making Lionel Messi’s team co-leaders of Group A with Chile with four points each.
Midfielder Guido Rodriguez scored the only goal at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia with a header in the 13th minute after Messi crossed from the left. The ball hit goalkeeper Fernando Muslera’s right post before going in.
Earlier Chile beat Bolivia 1-0 on a goal by English-Chilean striker Ben Brereton.
Seeking some defensive solidity, Argentina changed nearly all of back four after the 1-1 draw with Chile. Right-back Gonzalo Montiel, defender Lucas Martínez Quarta and left-back Nicolás Tagliafico were replaced by Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero and Marcos Acuña, respectively. Nicolás Otamendi was the only defender who remained. Rodriguez replaced injured Leandro Paredes.
Argentina controlled nearly all of the game against an Uruguayan team that included the powerful offensive duo of Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani.
Argentina midfielder Rodrigo de Paul said his team deserved to finally win — it had not won since November 2020.
“Today we tried to be a more compact team. We know that with the players we have here we can score at any time,” he said. “Today we gave another little step to improvement, we will celebrate it.”
Coach Oscar Tabárez has not seen his team win in four matches. He said in a press conference that Uruguay did not have many opportunities against Argentina, but still has a good chance to advance to the knockout stage in the next three matches.
“We have players that know well how to score goals, but we could not use them,” he said.
Argentina’s next match will be against Paraguay on Monday, the same day that Uruguay will play its second match in the tournament against Chile.
A victory against Uruguay could move Argentina into first place in its group and avoid an early knockout-stage meeting with defending champion Brazil, which is in Group B.
The result also provided some relief for Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who was criticized after his team’s opening 1-1 draw against Chile on Monday.
The top four teams of each group will advance to the knockout stage.
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