World Cup Qualifiers 2018 
August 31, 2017, 6:30 pm
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El Monumental

Match Report

It was an uneventful match as Argentina drew 0-0 against Uruguay.

If you’re a fan of the Argentina National Team, the hype surrounding this match nearly reached MAYWEATHER/McGREGOR levels. Jorge SAMPAOLI in charge of his first competitive match since taking over as coach, Lionel MESSI starting with Paulo DYBALA and Mauro ICARDI, Uruguay in poor form. It had all the writings for a memorable match. The outcome was a tight match with Uruguay defending in two big blocks of four with Argentina lacking creativity in midfield to really generate something and push forward.

The first half saw Argentina with much of the ball but as has become the norm the past few years, little to no creativity in the middle of the pitch moving forward. The center pairing of Lucas BIGLIA and Guido PIZARRO meant some stability in front of a three man back line but nothing moving forward. BIGLIA covered a lot of ground and actually played well. The only problem was that there was no creativity from him or PIZARRO.

It was a repeat of MESSI having to do a lot of tracking back to get something going however he uncharacteristically gave the ball away cheaply on a few occasions in the first 45 minutes. It wasn’t until near the end of the first half where we saw him combining with Paulo DYBALA where he got his first (and only) chance at goal (outside of a free kick in the second half). A lot of off the ball movement from Mauro ICARDI but with him being marked tightly by not only one but at times two Uruguayan defenders, it made life difficult, especially with no service from his team.

DI MARIA was, to say the least, extremely frustrating to watch. The back line came under pressure once or twice and had it not been for Sergio ROMERO (who he himself scrambled to control a ball), Argentina would have been down a goal heading into the break.

The second half saw SAMPAOLI’s men moving the ball at a faster rate in the first few minutes but that quickly stopped once we were ten minutes inside the second half. Lautaro ACOSTA, Javier PASTORE and Joaquin CORREA were the three substitutes for Argentina (the latter playing not even 3 minutes after being brought on in injury time). ACOSTA came close to creating something soon after coming on as he bursted down the right wing but his cross was cleared. He also had a bad touch on a pull-back which could have resulted in a dangerous chance for his team. PASTORE had a run inside the area where his pass found ICARDI but the Inter man went down in hopes of getting a penalty.

With Chile and Colombia both dropping points (Chile losing and Colombia drawing), Argentina only gains ground on Chile, with them now being tied on points with the Chileans.

Up next for Argentina is a match against Venezuela on Tuesday.