Argentina and Colombia played the (to date) biggest match in the 2019 Copa America group stage. Even though things were mostly tight through the first 70 minutes, Colombia ended establishing a differential in the final stretch of the game. Goals from substitutes Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata settled the match, as Colombia cruised their way towards a comfortable 2-0 win at Arena Fonte Nova.
A rather uninspiring first half ends goalless
The first few minutes of the match saw both teams studying each other, but things peaked quickly since Argentina created their best scoring chance in the 7th minute. A through ball to Sergio Agüero forced a rush out from David Ospina, but the goalkeeper didn’t time it well and the Manchester City striker had a clean path towards the empty goal. A last-ditch tackle from the defence saved Colombia, though. And oddly, that was the only dangerous play Argentina generated in the first half.
Colombia woke up following the exit of Luis Muriel. The striker suffered an ankle injury around the 12th minute, and Roger Martinez replaced him. The Club America striker looked threatening on the left wing, however, and helped Colombia create the best chances to score the opener. Martinez and Radamel Falcao had clear scoring opportunities, but both sent their efforts wide.
The rest of the first half saw both sides made several fouls, as they made things difficult for Chilean referee Roberto Tobar, who nonetheless controlled the game at a timely manner. But when both sides decided it was time to play, Colombia looked better in the first half. That saw them go on top – at least on the stats – at the break even if things ended scoreless after 45 minutes.
Argentina can’t take advantage of their best stretch
Lionel Scaloni sent Rodrigo De Paul to replace an incumbent Angel Di Maria after the break, but the Udinese star failed to make much of an impact on the left wing. Colombia kept attacking but they weren’t to capitalize on the few chances they created in the early going, though.
Argentina managed to look better in the first 20 minutes of the second half since Colombia lost the intensity they had shown earlier in the match. La Albiceleste had their best chance in the 66th minute when Lionel Messi headed the ball from close range, but his effort went wide. And that miss would cost Argentina badly, since Colombia opened the score shortly afterwards.
Martinez and Zapata seal the deal for Colombia
It was Martinez who came through in the clutch for Colombia during the team’s worst stretch of the game. The Club America striker, who was one of the team’s best players in the first half, took advantage of a pass from James Rodriguez and drilled a precise shot into the far post and out of Franco Armani’s reach.
Argentina decided to go all out on the attack, but the strategy failed miserably, and Colombia took advantage of that to score a second goal. Another run through the left side of the attack – Argentina’s right side of the defence where Renzo Saravia looked overmatched – ended with a cross that Duvan Zapata met from close range. The Atalanta striker tapped the ball home to send the Cafeteros fans into raptures in the stands.
Argentina didn’t give up, but it just wasn’t enough. And Colombia ended winning the match deservedly since they were the better side by a sizable margin.
Argentina: Armani (5); Saravia (3), Pezzella (5), Otamendi (5), Tagliafico (4); Paredes (5), Rodriguez (5) (Pizarro (4), 67’), Lo Celso (6); Messi (6), Agüero (5) (Suarez (-), 79’), Di María (4) (De Paul (5), 46’)
Colombia: Ospina (5); Medina (6), Mina (6), Sanchez (6), Tesillo (5); Cuadrado (5) (Lerma (5), 64’), Barrios (6), Uribe (5); James (6), Falcao (6) (Zapata (6), 81’), Muriel (-) (Martinez (7), 14’)
Goals: Martinez (0-1, 71’), Zapata (0-2, 86’)
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Yellow Cards: Rodriguez, Saravia, Paredes (ARG), Falcao, Cuadrado, Zapata, Lerma (COL)
Red Cards: None
Venue: Arena Fonte Nova
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