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Copa America 2015: Paraguay fight back to draw with Argentina

Sunday 14th June , 2015 11:03 am
Messi with his dejected team mates (Image credit: Reuters)
Messi with his dejected team mates (Image credit: Reuters)

Paraguay fought back from two goals down to deny Argentina victory in their opening game of the Copa America.

Argentina, runners-up at the 2014 World Cup, raced ahead in the first half as Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero slotted in before Barcelona’s Lionel Messi converted a penalty.

Paraguay fought back after the break, Nelson Valdez halving the deficit with a long-distance shot.

Lucas Barrios then drove in late on to snatch a point.

The result means Argentina and Paraguay are level on one point in Group B, two points behind defending champions Uruguay, who beat Jamaica 1-0.

It was a stunning response by Paraguay, who had little answer to Argentina’s relentless attacks in the first half.

Argentina have not won the Copa America in 23 years but, after reaching last year’s World Cup final where they lost to Germany, they are considered one of the favourites this year.

Sergio Aguero scored the opener as Argentina dominated the first half (Image credit: PA)

Sergio Aguero scored the opener as Argentina dominated the first half (Image credit: PA)

Initially, at least, it was clear to see why.

After attempts by Messi and his Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano, it was Aguero – who scored 32 goals last season – who opened the scoring. The striker displayed his predatory instincts to pounce on a poor backpass by Paraguay defender Miguel Samudio before rolling the ball home.

Paraguay barely had time to recover from that before Argentina added a second. This time Messi stepped up to convert from the spot after Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria had been fouled in the box.

It seemed as though Argentina were coasting towards victory, especially when Messi almost grabbed a third only to be denied by the legs of the Paraguay keeper.

Paraguay were given hope, though, when out of nothing Valdez pulled a goal back, his 25-yard, swerving strike catching out Sergio Romero in the Argentina goal.

That sparked Paraguay into life, while Argentina looked increasingly rattled as the game wore on, Samudio getting sight of goal but denied by Romero.

It looked as though Argentina had done enough, however, until Paulo Da Silva was allowed to nod down a high ball into the box in stoppage time for the unmarked Barrios to despatch a low shot into the net and earn his side a dramatic point.

 

 

Source: BBC

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