Leo Messi was the player of the match today in a game played in Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, where Argentina faced Ecuador in a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup. The Ecuadorian defense had a really hard time trying to stop Leo, who was on fire today. And unlike some other occasions, team mates like Kun Aguero and Di María were there to give him the ball correctly, most of the time. During the match he showed great connection with the two previously mentioned forwards, and also with Higuain. The result? A great game: 4 goals, 1 assist and 1 goal for Messi himself, after a smart, wonderful counter attack led and finished by Leo. Watch all 4 goals here:
Despite looking sharp and dangerous in attack, Argentina looked poor in defense. Ecuador didn’t do much, but they moved the ball around and got some good chances that a better team wouldn’t have wasted. Their central defense is not set yet and the defensive midfield had some problems controlling the ball. Mascherano looked a bit slow sometimes, maybe overwhelmed by the task of being the only defensive midfielder during some stages of the game. Central defense and midfield need to be a bit more packed.
But all in all, it was a good match for Argentina, and the most important thing of the night was this image Leo gave to us after he scored! Draw your own conclusions!
After this win, Argentina leads the Qualifying standings, followed by Chile (9 points), who also won today in La Paz, Bolivia. Despite the locals looking much better in most of the game, Chile took advantage of a couple of chances to win this game and earn the three points. 0-2 was the score, but the game didn’t provide hope for a team that had a true style of play under Marcelo Bielsa’s command, a style that seems long gone right now. As a result, the forwards looked a bit lost in translation, and defense was kind of undecisive, while midfield was not particularly creative. Bolivia’s own limitations denied them the win or, at least, a draw. Alexis made some interesting moves, yet most were not productive, and throughout the whole attack he was kicked really hard, in futile attempts to stop him. This led to one of Bolivia’s players being sent off and for some strange miracle, Alexis did not come out injured.
Next weekend, Argentina will face Paraguay (Mascherano will miss it owing to a yellow card ban) and Chile will visit impressive Venezuela, who drew with current Copa America champions Uruguay at their own field. Both will be tough games.