Rodriguez gives Argentina Copa edge in tense derby win over Uruguay


BRASILIA, June 19, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Guido Rodriguez scored the only goal of
the game as Argentina edged past fierce local rivals Uruguay in a
disappointing Copa America clash on Friday.

The victory sent Argentina joint top of Group A with Chile on four points
while Uruguay remain pointless.

These two sides played the first ever international match outside the
United Kingdom and have played each other more times than any other local

They’ve won the Copa 29 times between them but familiarity can breed
caution and for much of the encounter they canceled each other out.

Six time Balon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had the first real chance, cutting
in from the right onto his favored left foot to force a full stretch save
from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who was relieved to see Lautaro Martinez
unable to turn in the rebound.

Moments later, Cristian Romero rose highest in the area to meet a Rodrigo
De Paul cross but Muslera made a comfortable save.

The pressure was relentless in the early stages and Argentina took a
deserved lead on 13 minutes as Messi got to the byline and stood up a cross
to the back post where Rodriguez rose above his marker to head home off the
far post.

Uruguay gradually stemmed the tide and started to get a foothold in the
game, only to see Argentina counter at pace before Muslera parried a fierce
Nahuel Molina drive at his near post.

Despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Uruguay were unable to
test Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

A slew of early substitutions in the second half disrupted the flow of the
game and chances were at a premium.

Despite boasting Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front, Uruguay struggled
to create any chances of note.

When Matias Vina put in a devil of a ball across the six yard box, neither
Suarez nor Cavani could get a touch to turn the ball in.

Soon afterwards, Suarez went for the spectacular with a leaping bicycle
kick but sent the ball high over the bar.

Up the other end, Messi fired a free-kick from 20 yards straight into the
wall as the game petered out into a scrappy affair.

– English touch –

Earlier, English-born Ben Brereton was the unlikely hero as Chile beat
Bolivia 1-0.

The 22-year-old Blackburn forward was born in Stoke-on-Trent to an English
father and Chilean mother, and only made his national team debut on Monday
when he came off the bench in Chile’s 1-1 draw with Argentina.

But Brereton, who has played his entire career in the English Championship,
was in the right place at the right time to finish off a rapier counter-
attack and hand Chile victory.

Chile dominated the first period and could easily have gone in at half-time
with a larger lead.

Bolivia’s goalkeeper Carlos Lampe mounted almost solo resistence at times,
saving from Jean Meneses, Erick Pulgar and Brereton.

The goal came after Bolivia were caught out by a lightning counter-attack
on 10 minutes, with Eduardo Vargas squaring to Brereton, who calmly took one
touch to beat a sliding defender and then slotted home with his second.

Soon after, Meneses lashed a shot just past the post and veteran captain
Arturo Vidal put a header straight at Lampe.

Bolivia were under the cosh for much of the first half but still came close
themselves through Roberto Fernandez, Erwin Saavedra and Ramiro Vaca.

Lampe, though, had to make seven saves before halftime to keep his team in
the tie.

Bolivia made a good start to the second half and Chile goalkeeper Claudio
Bravo was forced into a sprawling save to deny Saavedra.

The Bolivians created the better second half chances and were unlucky when
a shot from substitute Danny Bejarano took a huge deflection before sailing
just past the post. But it wasn’t enough to earn their first point of the