- Copa América Group B opener saw Colombia beat Argentina 2-0
- Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata netted twice for the Tricolors against rivals La Albiceleste
- Free-for-all fight broke out after Lionel Messi was fouled in the second half
Lionel Messi failed to inspire Argentina’s La Albiceleste against Colombia’s Tricolors on Saturday, June 15, 2019 in their opening game of the ongoing Copa America in Brazil.
The encounter saw La Albiceleste suffer a 2-0 defeat Roger Martinez's 71st-minute stunner and Duvan Zapata's late sealer at the Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil.
Messi’s Argentina were hopeful of claiming their first major international title since 1993, finishing twice as runner-up in 2015 and 2016 editions, but the Colombians had other plans.
La Albiceleste started the contest brightly, asking questions in their opponent’s box, but could not find their way past The Tricolor’s defence line.
In the 14th minute, Colombia had a decent opportunity to break the deadlock after Luis Muriel linked up with Radamel Falcao, but his shot missed target by whiskers as Colombia showed their intent to strike first.
At the other end, Messi struggled to find his way and overall it was a poor play by both teams in the first half, which failed to produce a single shot on target.
In the second half, the early exchanges were very poor, until Colombia shot-stopper David Ospina showed class to stop Leandro Paredes volley from finding back of his net in the 60th minute.
And moments later, a free-for-all fight almost broke out after Juan Cuadrado's tackle on Messi, with other Argentina players threatening the Colombia winger.
Argentina came close to taking the lead after play resumed, with Nicolas Otamendi's powerful header forcing Ospina to make a diving save, but Messi failed to nod head home the rebound with the goalkeeper missing in action.
However, with 19 minutes of play left on the clock, The Tricolor finally broke the deadlock.
Martinez received a cross-field pass on the flank from James Rodriguez took some steps inside Argentina half before striking past La Albiceleste shot-stopper Armani from distance.
Another substitute Zapata netted the second for Colombia from close-range finish to ensure Messi and teammates suffered a 2-0 defeat after 90 minutes.
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Meanwhile, Argentina will be hoping to silence doubters against Paraguay on Thursday, June 20, in their second group game.
On the other hand, Colombia will square up against Asian champion and 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar, one of the two guest countries alongside Japan participating at Copa America 2019.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been dropped from the perking order in the most valuable XI in European football team.
In a list made by CIES Football Observatory selected the players according to their market value, the five-time Ballon d'Or winners were topped by other top stars.
These players include PSG's Kylian Mbappe (€252m), Mohamed Salah (€220m) and Raheem Sterling (€200m).
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