(EFE) .- Argentina began with a 1-0 win against Ecuador on its way to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar thanks to a penalty goal by Lionel Messi in a match valid for the first day of the South American qualifiers played at the La stadium. Bombonera, from Buenos Aires.
In the first half, the Albiceleste sought to gain control of the ball and with a double command in the midfield with Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes, they sought the first contact of Messi’s ball to be in three quarters of the rival field.
‘La Tri’, meanwhile, with the typical scheme devised by Gustavo Alfaro in his teams, withdrew but with pressure on leaving the premises with a delivery midfield with Renato Ibarra, Alan Franco, Carlos Gruezo, Moisés Caicedo and Ángel Ore.
Argentina sought an offensive partnership between Messi, Lucas Ocampos and Lautaro Martínez, who in the 11th minute found a ball into the void for Ocampos that left Estupiñán on the road, who out of desperation went to the floor and committed a penalty to the current Sevilla player Spanish.
The Chilean referee Roberto Tobar scored without hesitation and then Messi with an accurate shot placed it on Domínguez’s left post, which although he hit the trajectory of the ball, he did not deflect it.
With the early advantage in the score, Argentina continued with their control of the ball, but Ecuador did not decide to advance the lines but chose to keep their initial script and left Enner Valencia alone on offense to go against the two Argentine centrals: Nicolás Otamendi and Lucas Martínez Quarta.
In the second half Gustavo Alfaro determined the entry of Ángelo Preciado instead of Erick Ferigra to have a greater projection on the side.
At the beginning of the complementary period, Argentina had a first option at minute 47 when Lautaro Martínez enabled Lucas Ocampos first, who defined crusader to demand a spectacular stretch from Alexander Domínguez, who deflected the ball to the corner kick.
However, from that moment on, Ecuador advanced its lines and went to pressure its rival with Caicedo and Valencia as the main offensive points supported by the projections of Preciado, Estupiñán and the admitted Gonzalo Plata.
And in the 67th minute a projection of Estupiñán on the left beat him in speed at the closing of Montiel and tried a strong shot that was contained by Armani in a wake-up call for the host.
Betting on the projection by the bands and the search for some centers to surprise the goalkeeper Armani, Ecuador looked for the tie, but without having any clear option.
On the home side, coach Lionel Scaloni opted to rotate the bench with the income of Lucas Alario, Eduardo Salvio, Juan Foyth and Nicolás Domínguez to oxygenate a host who could have reached the second goal with a final shot from Rodrigo De Paul who went very close.
On the visit side, Alfaro determined the bet of Michael Estrada to accompany Valencia, but with only four minutes remaining and the Argentine victory was almost sealed.
The second day of the qualifying rounds, which will take place in full on Tuesday the 13th, will have La Albiceleste visiting Bolivia at the Hernando Siles stadium in La Paz and ‘La Tri’ at the Rodrigo Paz Delgado stadium, in Quito, against Uruguay .
– Data sheet:
1. Argentina: Franco Armani; Gonzalo Montiel (m.83, Juan Foyth), Lucas Martinez Quarta, Nicolás Otamendi and Nicolás Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes and Marcos Acuña (d.65, Eduardo Salvio); Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martínez (m.75, Lucas Alario) and Lucas Ocampos (m.83, Nicolás Domínguez).
Coach: Lionel Scaloni.
0. Ecuador: Alexander Domínguez; Erick Ferigra (m.46, Angelo Preciado), Xavier Arreaga, Robert Arboleda, Pervis Estupiñan; Renato Ibarra (m.63, Gonzalo Plata), Alan Franco, Carlos Gruezo, Moisés Caicedo (m.78, Romario Ibarra), Ángel Mena (m.86, Michael Estrada); and Enner Valencia.
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro.
Goal: 1-0, m.13: Lionel Messi.
Referee: Chilean Roberto Tobar. He admonished Leandro Paredes, Nicolás Tagliafico and Enner Valencia.
Incidents: match of the first day of the South American qualifiers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup played without an audience at the Alberto J. Armando stadium, known as ‘la Bombonera’, in Buenos Aires.