Messi Sets Record as Argentina Triumphs Over Canada 2-0 in Copa América Opener

Featured & Cover  Messi Sets Record as Argentina Triumphs Over Canada 2 0 in Copa América Opener

Argentina kicked off its Copa América title defense with a 2-0 win over Canada at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday.

Lionel Messi set a new record by making his 35th Copa América appearance, surpassing a milestone that had stood for over 70 years. Messi played a pivotal role in Argentina’s goals, which were scored by Julián Álvarez and Lautaro Martínez.

Canada, participating in the expanded Copa América for the first time, was considered a heavy underdog against the 15-time champions. Nevertheless, Canada had several opportunities to score.

“This team creates scoring opportunities and defends like lions,” Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said after the match. “Yesterday, I said that Canada was going to be a difficult opponent and it was a good test for us. The important thing is that the team always responds, no matter what the game is like.”

The first half was lively, with both teams creating chances in front of over 70,000 fans. Ángel Di María missed a one-on-one chance during an Argentine counter-attack, and Alexis Mac Allister’s header was saved by Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.

Canada’s best chance in the first half came from Stephen Eustáquio, whose header was saved by Emi Martínez, and Alphonso Davies missed the follow-up.

Argentina took the lead early in the second half. Messi delivered an excellent pass to Mac Allister, who couldn’t shoot but managed to set up Álvarez for the opening goal.

Messi had two scoring opportunities after breaking through the Canadian defense. On the first occasion, Crépeau and Derek Cornelius thwarted him, and on the second, his shot went just wide of the left-hand post.

Jonathan David missed an open header, which was perhaps Canada’s best chance of the match. Argentina then sealed the win with a superb team goal. Messi’s build-up play led to Martínez scoring through Crépeau’s legs, making it 2-0.

Argentina is now on a nine-match unbeaten streak in the Copa América, having won the 2021 tournament and the third-place playoff against Chile in 2019. La Albiceleste will face Chile and Peru in their upcoming group-stage matches.

Winning this year’s tournament would mark Argentina’s third consecutive major tournament victory, following their 2022 World Cup win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Related Stories