Copa: Argentina Beat Qatar to Book Quarter Final Place

By Daily Sports on June 24, 2019

Views: 231

A stuttering 2-0 victory over Qatar avoided the humiliation of a first-round exit in Brazil, extending the Albiceleste’s interests in the competition for at least four more days.

Whether their tournament will go on any further from this point will depend on the team showing a marked improvement from the quarter-final onwards, a condition that right now looks far from being fulfilled.

The equation was simple for Lionel Scaloni’s troops going into their Group B decider. Win, and carry on in the Copa. Lose, and they were free to pack their bags and head back to what would doubtlessly have been an indifferent reception in Buenos Aires.

Thanks to the goalscoring instinct of Lautaro Martinez, they enjoyed a perfect start. The

Inter man, paired with Sergio Aguero in a front two that owed much to Argentina’s need for prowess in front of the net, had already gone close once when he showed lightning reflexes four minutes in to steal a Qatar goal kick and with his second touch drill the ball past Saad Al Sheeb.

It was the first goal from open play Argentina had managed in the entire tournament. Lautaro’s shot had provoked the penalty which allowed Lionel Messi to equalise in the previous outing against Paraguay and he looked dangerous again on Sunday, moving across the forward line and posing constant questions of the Asian Cup holders while connecting sporadically with Messi.

While Martinez tried gamely to keep his team moving forward, and Rodrigo De Paul promised on occasion with a handful of useful interventions, there was precious little support elsewhere on the pitch. There was at least promise in his partnership with Aguero, who scored his own right at the death to seal qualification after a frustrating afternoon of missed chances.

Messi again looked a shadow of the wizard we are so used to watching on a weekly basis for

Barcelona, without even a single shot on target to his name until a tame effort 81 minutes in. And the less one says about the Albiceleste defence, which oscillated from absent-minded to downright negligent to keep Argentina on the brink of catastrophe throughout, the better.

•Courtesy Goal. Photo shows Argentina players

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 24, 2019


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