The Copa America kicked off on Saturday and the opening round of matches produced some big results and one major shock. Here is what happened in the first games of the South American Championship:
Colombia stun Argentina
Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates suffered a shock 2-0 defeat against Colombia in their opening match of the competition. It was a poor start for one of the favourites for the tournament in Brazil.
Argentina came close to taking the lead in the second half, as Messi miss-hit an effort wide of goal from close range. They were made to pay for the miss on 71 minutes through a special strike from Roger Martinez.
The forward produced great speed on the edge of the area, before firing home into the far corner of the net with a powerful. The Colombians doubled their lead with just four minutes left on the clock, as Duvan Zapata poked home past Franco Armani at the near post from close range after a good team move.
The victory was a famous one for Colombian. Meanwhile, Argentina, who have finished as runners-up in the last two Copa America’s, are bottom of the group with Paraguay and Qatar still to play. Time is running out for Messi to secure an elusive international trophy.
Neymar-less Brazil beat Bolivia
Copa America hosts Brazil recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Bolivia in Group A, with Philippe Coutinho grabbing a second-half brace. It was not all positive for Tite’s side, though, as they were booed off at half-time with the game goalless.
The Selecao suffered the blow of losing PSG superstar Neymar prior to the competition. Their first-half display suggested that they may struggle without the former Barcelona forward.
However, it took Brazil just five minutes in the second half to take lead. A VAR review adjudged that Bolivia defender Adrian Jusino had handled the ball in his own penalty area. Coutinho stepped up and buried the spot-kick.
The attacking midfielder scored his brace just a few minutes later, heading home from a cross by former Liverpool teammate Roberto Firmino. From Liverpool to Everton. The winger known as Everton added to the home sides lead by beating two defenders before firing home with a right-footed effort from outside the penalty area.
The win moved the hosts to the top of Group A. The second half display suggests that the tournament favourites have a good chance of winning their first Copa America title in 12 years.
Peru held by ten-man Venezuela
In the other Group A game, Venezuela held Peru to a goalless draw despite the dismissal of Luis Mago late on.
Peru had the better of the game and saw two goals ruled out after VAR consultations. The first saw Christofer Gonzales see an 11th minute ruled out for offside. Veteran winger Jefferson Farfan also had a header disallowed midway through the second period of the clash.
This will seem like a missed opportunity for Peru, who had the better chances and failed to make the most of their one-man advantage in the last 15 minutes. However, both teams will feel they still have a chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.
Will Lionel Messi once again suffer disappointment at another international tournament?