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July 2, 2011
• Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, Provincia de Buenos Aires
Referee: Roberto Silvera
S. Agüero 76'
E. Rojas 48'
Shots on Target
Thank you for following tonight's action with us here on Goal.com. Remember to stay with us tonight for all your post-match reaction.
90' + 3'
And there we have it. The referee blows his whistle to bring the opening match of the 2011 Copa America to a conclusion. Hosts Argentina are held to a 1-1 draw by Bolivia, who were given no chance before the match. In the end, Argentina have Kun Aguero to thank for saving them from total humiliation, after the substitute netted a late equaliser.
90' + 2'
We're in the second minute of stoppage time and Argentina take a quick free-kick. Di Maria crosses and Burdisso poweres a header towards goal... Oh, Arias manages to grab the ball at the second attempt to break Argentina hearts.
A last-minute substitutionfor Bolivia. Cardozo comes on for Rojas.
Great goalkeeping! Arias flies off his line to grasp Di Maria's low cross and thereby prevent Tevez from scoring with a tap in.
Nice one-two between Messi and Banega, who tries to chest down in the box but only succeeds in winning his side a corner, which comes to nothing in the end.
Yellow Card R. Rivero
Rivero makes it four Bolivian bookings as he is cautioned for careering into Messi from behind.
Tevez hooks a shot towards goal on the turn, but the strike lacks power and direction and Arias stoops to gather with absolute ease.
Argentina scramble clear after Burdisso makes a brave block to thwart Rojas. Bolivia haven't given up on winning this either. What an exciting final five minutes we are in for.
Very strong defending by Raldes to hold off Aguero's attentions and let the ball run through to his goalkeeper. He has, however, been awarded a free-kick in any case.
There are a lot of Independiente flags here in the stadium tonight, so it's of no surprise that Aguero's goal has been very well received indeed.
That's wild. Di Maria lashes over the crossbar after Arias parries Aguero's prodded effort straight to him.
What an impact! Aguero darts to the front post to meet Zanetti's cut back but is only prevented from converting by some excellent positional defending by Rivero.
Assist Nicolas Burdisso
Goal Sergio Agüero
Yellow Card J. Chávez
Suuuuppppppppeerrrr suuuuub! Sergio Aguero rifles home an unstoppable volley after Burdisso chests down a Di Maria cross. Great goal. 1-1 now - game on!
Goal.com's Daniel Edwards reports from the stadium: The crowd are attempting to lift themsleves, and their side, by breaking out in a chorus of: 'el que no salta, es un Ingles'. Translation - Whoever doesn't jump is English!
Almost an instant impact from Aguero, who picks the ball up wide on the right and arrows through a ruck of players straight for goal. His strike does not match the build up and trickles harmlessly wide.
What power! Mascherano picks up an overhit corner and fires off a thunderous drive which finishes just a foot over the crossbar.
That's a first. The Bolivia physio is ordered from the field of play as is Flores. Meanwhile, Argentina make another change, replacing Lavezzi with Aguero.
The stadium here in La Plata is in near silence. That is besides a small pocket of Bolivia fans, who are getting right behind their heroes.
Wow! The action is relentless now. Argentina go straight up the other end and should have scored, but Di Maria drags an angled drive wide of the upright.
That is an absolutely crucial contribution from Romero. The Argentina custodian dives at the feet of Moreno and gets the merest of touches on the ball to prevent the Bolivia forward from breezing around him for a tap in.
Bolivia use the break in play to make a substitution, replacing Vaca with Chavez.
Zanetti takes it opon himself to break forward and wins a free-kick wide on the right after his run is halted by Campos.
Bolivia surivive a couple of shaky moments in quick succession, but can they hold out?
So lucky! Messi's hooked effort is flicked into the air by Arias. Gutierrez tries to cushion the ball with his head but his touch is heavy, and he watches on agonisingly as the ball drops onto the roof of the net. relief all round for the Bolivians.
He's done it again. Lavezzi charges down the right, hurdling challenges as he goes. But after doing all the hard work, he sends his cross into orbit. His frustration is tangible.
Free-kick to Bolivia 30 yards out, slightly to the left of goal. Campos whips it on, but Romero clears with what is in all honesty an unconvincing punch.
Yellow Card Ezequiel Lavezzi
And that's no surprise at all - Lavezzi is cautioned for a terrible tackle on Robles.
Some real positive play by Lavezzi as he drives to the byline. He is found wanting in the end, however, as his wayward cross sails behind for a goalkick. But Batista will be hoping to see more of that sort of direct play.
Angel Di Maria is the latest in a succession of Argentina players to be easily dispossessed in an attacking position. They need to find some fluidity, and quick.
Another Argetina move breaks down on the edge of the box as Tevez gets himself in a fankle and loses possession.
Assist J. Campos
Goal E. Rojas
Goooooooallllll! Bolivia lead 1-0. Rojas flicks on Campos' left-footed corner and the ball slithers under Banega's foot and over the line. Criminal defending by Banega on the post.
Half-time change for Argentina. Off goes Cambiasso and on comes Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria. An attack-minded change.
Ángel Di María
Kick-off! The second half is underway. Can Argentina find the breakthrough they crave? Stay with us here on Goal.com to find out.
45' + 1'
After one minute of stoppage time, the referee blows his whistle to bring the half to an end. The score is 0-0, and the La Plata crowd are growing increasingly restless as their side struggled to find a way past the Bolivian's stubborn resistance. Join us again at around 3.50 CET for all of the second half action.
Banega cuts in off the left wing and lets fly with a powerful strike, The effort is wayward, however, and swings wildly away from goal and behind for a goalkick.
The Argentina frustration even seems to be getting to the usually unflappable Messi, as he loses the ball to Vaca and trips him in frustration. Batista reflects that frustration on the touchline.
It's Milito's turn to shackle Moreno. The Bolivian frontman picks up the ball and drifts wide, but Milito follows him all the way and prods the ball out of play for a throw. Good defending.
Moreno holds the ball up well but can't find a way past the brick wall that is Burdisso.
Yellow Card L. Gutiérrez
Yet another yellow card. Gutierrez is the latest to be cautioned. The Bolivian left-back joins team-mate Flores in the book for kicking out at Zanetti. It's getting a little dirty now.
Yellow Card Carlos Tévez
Tevez follows Flores into the referee's book, for dissent this time.
Yellow Card Walter Flores
Flores is cautioned for a cynical foul on Banega. A well deserved yellow card.
That's terrible goalkeeping, though. The Bolivian number one spills Messi's weak hooked effort. Cambiasso follows up but miscues his initial shot dragging the ball over the touchline after the ball flicks off of Arias.
Good save! Arias plunges to his left to scramble Tevez's side-footed effort wide of his near post. The approach play was tremendous, as Messi darted through the centre and prodded the ball wide for his team-mate.
Mascherano continues to use Lavezzi as an out ball down the Argentina right. Gutierrez is doing his job this time and forces Lavezzi to miscontrol.
After an inconspicious start, Lavezzi is starting to look very threatening. Don't be surprised if it's this man who opens the scoring - if a goal does come.
Mascherano releases Lavezzi with a raking quick free-kick, but Lavezzi fails to control and the ball runs through to Bolivia goalkeeper Arias.
Ohhhh, that's not far away at all! Messi slips Lavezzi in on goal with a neat pass, and the Napoli wideman unleashes a powerful angled drive which flashes across the face of goal.
Some fantastic defending from Cambiasso, as he finds himself in the perfect position to head clear Vaca's dangerous cross.
The Bolivians must be pleased with this start. They have weathered an early storm. And despite some threatening Messi runs, they have coped reasonably well with what their more illustrious opponents have thrown at them.
The ball breaks to Rojas Hermoza on the edge of the box, but he slips as he pulls the trigger and the ball runs harmlessly through to Romero. However, the slip is an awkward one and the action halts so the Bolivian attacking midfielder can receive treatment.
Great lunging clearance by Raldes. The imposing Bolivia number 16 slides forward to cut out Rojo's dangerous, low centre from wide on the left. Good defending.
At the moment, the game is getting a little bogged down in midfield as both teams take it in turns to give away niggly fouls in the centre of the park. There has been little flow to the game in the last few minutes.
Robles swings over a free-kick from out on the left, but his kick misses everyone and rolls out of play for a throw in deep on the Argentina left. Bolivia are slowly but surely feeling their way into this match.
Lavezzi has been a peripheral figure in the opening quarter of an hour, and he lets his frustration boil over by pushing Gutierrez to the ground down the Bolivia left. He then continues to vent his anger at the assistant referee.
Bolivia manage their first shot on target in this the 13th minute. Moreno plays a free-kick short and strides on to the lay off, but his curling effort is weak and easily held by Romero.
Argentina are racking up the corners in the opening 10 minutes, Banega takes an inswinger but the ball is easily headed clear before Messi is penalised for a foul inside the box.
Messi really looks in the mood. He picks the ball up in a deep position and immediately turns and drives at the Bolivia defence. He picks out Tevez with a fine slide-rule pass, but he is offside.
Zanetti wins a corner with a lung-bursting, age-defying run. It is taken short to Messi but only ends with another corner, which is headed clear by Raldes.
Tevez puts pressure on Rivero down by the touchline, but he is penalised for a push and Bolivia have a free-kick.
Argentina are in total control here in the early stages. Messi has started brightly and weaves through a few challenges before feeding Tevez, but the move comes to nothing.
Argentina have a free-kick 35 yards out, Messi clips it into the centre but Tevez heads well wide. He should have done much better.
We're underway! The referee signals for Bolivia to kick off and the 2011 Copa America is up and running!!
Bolivia starting XI: Arias; L. Alvarez, R. Raldes, R. Rivero, L. Gutierrez; J. Robles, W. Flores, Joselito Vaca, J. Campos; E. Rojas, Marcelo Martins
Now for the team news. Here's the starting XI for Argentina: Romero; Zanetti, G. Milito, Burdisso, Rojo; Mascherano, Banega, Cambiasso; Tevez, Messi, Lavezzi
Welcome everybody to Goal.com's live coverage of the Copa America 2011. After months of waiting, Argentina, the cup favourites, will take on Bolivia in La Plata as the tournament begins!
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