Image Credits: AP/ Twitter
While Argentina walked away with a comfortable 3-1 win in their CONMEBOL preliminary clash against Venezuela, Lionel Messi was lucky to be able to walk after a horrendous tackle from Adrian Martinez. Luckily, Messi managed to play the full 90 minutes without any sign of discomfort. Messi was running towards the Venezuelan box when Martinez charged in with his boot showing and caught the Argentine with a nasty tackle and received a red card for it.
Argentina made light work of Venezuela after Martinez was sent off in the 32nd minute for his horror challenge on Messi. Lautaro Martinez scored in injury time of the second half, and two quickfire goals in the span of three minutes from Joaquin Correa and Andel Correa in the 71st and 74th minute meant that Argentina could take the foot of the pedal. Venezuela managed to pull one back in the fourth minute of injury time after a penalty was awarded, but Yeferson Soteldo's strike would only count as a consolation goal. Overall, Argentina did dominate the entire match with 73% possession and 92% passing accuracy. They also managed to get ten shots on target out of a total of 17.
Argentina now sit second in the table with 15 points, having won four out of the seven matches they have played and drawing the other three, they are three points ahead of third-place Ecuador. Brazil sit at the top with 21 points, having won every single game of the seven they have played so far, which means that they are six points clear of Argentina and in a very comfortable position to finish first.
Lionel Messi and Neymar are yet to take the pitch together for Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1; however, the close friends will face each other in their next match as Brazil take on Argentina in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. This will be the first time that both players will face each other post-Copa America final. In July, Messi had won his first international trophy by helping Argentina end a 27-year wait for major silverware by upsetting Brazil at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium.