Lionel Messi said the physicality brought to Argentina’s 1-0 win over Uruguay at the Copa America was their opponents’ doing.
Sergio Aguero’s second-half header was the difference between the two sides in La Serena, although there was plenty more happening than just that on and off the pitch – with Gerardo Martino sent to the stands and six yellow cards brandished.
Messi said Uruguay were the instigators of the physical battle.
“Uruguay wanted to play hard with a lot of contact,” the Barcelona superstar said.
“We demonstrate we know how to play this way too, even if it is not the thing we want most.
“However, we tried to play at the same level during the whole game.
“The goal came and it was the thing we’re looking for.”
Messi also dug the boot further into their South American rivals, claiming Oscar Tabarez’s men did not set out to play to win in their Group B affair.
“Uruguay set out a very tight match. They did not want to play a lot,” the 27-year-old said.
“We tried to attack them from both flanks.
“They were expecting to recover the ball in order to play long.
“Luckily we got Aguero’s goal and then we fought as it was what the game was asking for.”
Argentina will continue to seek top spot in the group, according to Messi – which would leave them with a quarter-final against one of the two best third-place finishers in the group stages.
“It [our goal] is the same we brought when we came,” Messi added.
“It was a pity the draw against Paraguay. We were leading 2-0 and we couldn’t win.
“However, now we’re where we wanted. We are on top and we depend on ourselves to qualify in the first position.”
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