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T. Almada (78)
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Estadio Mâs Monumental
Argentina v Panama Live Commentary,
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That concludes our commentary of the international friendly between Argentina and Panama! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Argentina take to the pitch again in four days when they host Curacao. Panama take on Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Nations League on Tuesday.
Argentina were made to toil for well over an hour, thanks in large part to heroic goalkeeping from Guerra, but the World Champions would not be denied - beating Panama by two goals to nil. The hosts largely struggled to break their opponents down in open play, with the visitors’ low block stifling creativity and forcing quick, intricate passes. Scaloni’s team always looked most dangerous during attacking set-pieces, including a first-half Messi effort which struck the post. The captain would again hit the woodwork in the second half, but fortune would be kinder with the rebound falling to a team-mate, leading to Almada’s opener. Messi would not be denied one of his own though, stepping up to slot a set-piece past Guerra and into the top corner to double the advantage and notch his 800th career goal.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-0 PANAMA.
90' + 1'
The fourth official indicates three minutes will be added to the end of the match for stoppages.
MESSI GETS NUMBER 800! 2-0 ARGENTINA! After hitting the post on two separate occasions from a free-kick, the captain gets his angles perfect, stroking a curling free-kick high into the near corner! Guerra gets across his line well but he’s left no chance against the brilliance of Messi, who makes it an incredible 800 goals for club and country!
Camargo leaps into a sliding challenge on De Paul and brings him down, forcing the referee to show the Panama substitute a yellow card. It’s yet another free-kick for Argentina just outside the penalty area, with Messi standing over it.
Panama have less than five minutes to show anything positive going forward, with the visitors kept without a shot on target in the game. Emiliano Martinez has had a very comfortable evening inside the Argentina penalty area, with the occasional caught cross his only exertion.
With five minutes to go in the game, Argentina will look to work the ball in passing triangles to keep their opponents chasing. While a second goal doesn’t seem necessary for the result, it would be a cherry on the top of what has been a positive night overall for Scaloni’s team.
Panama have not been kept goalless since a 0-0 draw with Martinique in the CONCACAF Nations League in June 2022.
Again it's Messi who steps up to take the free-kick but he gets his angles wrong this time, sending it just over Guerra's crossbar.
Messi is shoved over rather blatantly by Moran, with Argentina awarded another free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty area.
Despite his mis-kick, Paredes did get a touch to the ball - giving him the assist.
ARGENTINA FIND THE BREAKTHROUGH! 1-0! Messi curls a free-kick off the crossbar for the second time tonight, though this time with better fortune the rebound finds Paredes. The midfielder winds up for a volley but misses his kick, allowing Almada to steal in and finish from a narrow angle!
Panama make a change with just under a quarter-hour remaining. Camargo is introduced for Murillo.
Argentina and Panama have met twice before; once in the Copa America (2016) and once in a friendly (2009). The Albiceleste lead the aggregate score 8-1.
Hernandez steps in to dispossess Dybala inside the penalty area, sending the Roma forward to the ground in a heap. De Paul is furiously protesting for a spot-kick decision from the referee but the match official is unmoved, as the centre-back won the ball first.
Messi chips a clever pass over the top of the defence for Acuna, whose volley is blocked on the six-yard line by the outstretched leg of Ramos.
Galvan is recalled to the bench, with Casazola given a chance to impress.
Scaloni changes his left-backs, with Tagliafico making way for Acuna.
The previously booked Farina is taken off with 22 minutes to go. Hernandez is trusted to hold onto the clean sheet.
Gudino appears to have picked up an injury and will limp off, to be replaced by Moran.
Guerra has been in fine form tonight, making as many as five saves to frustrate the Argentina attack. He’s been the difference for Panama tonight, with Messi still looking for his 800th goal for club and country.
De Paul finds Dybala near the penalty area but he’s immediately barged over by Medina. The referee sees nothing wrong and allows play to continue, with Panama in possession.
Farina clumsily runs through the back of Lautaro Martinez in midfield and picks up a yellow card as a result.
Fernandez's match comes to an end after 60 minutes with Paredes on in his stead.
Á. Di María
A change on the stroke of the hour sees Roma's Dybala come in for Di Maria.
Di Maria cuts inside with intent and finds enough room to curl a shot to the far post which is met by a diving Guerra punch. Tagliafico looks for the easy tap-in with the goalkeeper out of position but Anderson stands his ground and blocks the strike from close range.
Di Maria and Messi work the corner short but the Juventus winger is dispossessed inside the penalty area with Panama able to carry the ball away to safety.
Messi steps up and curls a free-kick high towards the goal, forcing Guerra to push the effort over the crossbar for an Argentina corner.
Di Maria gets free on the right wing and cuts inside and goes down under a challenge from Peralta, winning another set-piece for his side in a dangerous position.
GREAT STOP! Messi’s free-kick takes a slight deflection on its way through but Guerra manages to read the trajectory and make a two-handed stop, pushing the ball towards a defender.
Browne’s late sliding challenge catches Fernandez on the shin, giving Argentina a free-kick 24 yards from goal.
Messi looks to beat the goalkeeper from the corner-flag, sending an inswinging set-piece right onto Guerra’s line. He reacts well and makes a spectacular diving stop, pushing it up and over the crossbar with his fingertips.
Both sides make a number of changes at half-time, with coaches eager to get a full look at their squads in a friendly setting. With the alterations coming at the half, Argentina will hope they'll be able to build and maintain the momentum necessary to find the breakthrough.
Panama get the match restarted from the kick-off!
A. Mac Allister
A swap in midfield sees Almada take over for Mac Allister.
Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez will play the second half in defence, giving Otamendi a rest.
A change at half-time for the hosts sees Lautaro Martinez replace Alvarez in attack.
Quintero is also replaced, with Medina coming on for the visitors.
Browne is introduced for Panama, with Cordoba making way.
Argentina will just need to keep piling on the pressure and move the ball a bit quicker in the second half, with tiredness no doubt beginning to set in for the visitors - who have been chasing most of the game. The introduction of fresh legs in Lo Celso and Correa could be of use, while Dybala could also get an introduction. Panama will need to keep organised and resilient despite the waves of oncoming attacks, while attacking clinically with the rare counter-attacking opportunity they get.
Argentina have not yet been able to translate the party atmosphere at the Estadio Mas Monumental onto the pitch, with a resolute Panama keeping the World Champions locked in a 0-0 tie at half-time. Despite considerably higher possession, passing and shot statistics, Scaloni’s side lacked the key final pass necessary to unlock the visiting low block, with Di Maria and Alvarez not quite able to get into the game. A superb free-kick sent off the post by Messi was the closest the hosts came to taking the lead, while Emiliano Martinez in goal has been a virtual spectator.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 0-0 PANAMA.
The fourth official indicates one minute will be added to the end of the half for stoppages.
Fernandez has a strike from 20 yards out that forces a wonderful save out of Guerra; diving to his right to push the ball up and over the crossbar!
Messi cuts inside from the right and finds just enough space between Gudino and Farina to fire a shot but it goes just wide of the target.
Alvarez wriggles free of his marker expertly inside the penalty area and lays a pass off to Messi but the Panama defence converge just in time to squeeze the Argentina captain off the ball.
Molina finally receives the ball high up the pitch and bursts into the penalty area but Ramos takes no chances and immediately blasts it away and out for an Argentina throw.
De Paul blasts a shot towards goal from 24 yards out but Farina’s brave block prevents Guerra from being called into action.
Molina makes the overlapping run into space but again Di Maria’s final ball is below the necessary quality, sending the pass directly behind for a goal-kick, giving his team-mate no chance to keep it in play.
Messi is often dropping deep, looking to pick up possession and keep it moving from a spot in-between the lines. When this is the case, De Paul occupies a higher position on the pitch looking to make the runs and give the Panama defence something else to consider.
Molina skips a cross into the six-yard box looking for Messi, only for Guerra to step off his line and get to the delivery first.
Messi invites Di Maria forward with a nifty pass using the outside of his boot but Galvan beats the winger to the ball and manages to put it out for a throw-in, giving his side time to track back.
Di Maria tries a shot from over 30 yards out and sends it disappointingly high and wide of Guerra’s target.
As we approach the half-hour mark, Argentina has seen a lot of the ball (74 per cent), while only managing one shot on target. The Panama defence has stuck to their task well while receiving plenty of help from the midfield, though they are slowly but surely being forced further and further back.
Messi links up with De Paul, who immediately cuts the ball back towards the penalty spot for Alvarez but Farina reads the play well and clears it down the pitch.
De Paul finds a pocket of space in midfield 12 yards ahead of the penalty area and plays an incisive pass forward for the run of Mac Allister, who gets a toe on the ball before it reaches Guerra. The poke looks to confuse the goalkeeper but he manages to readjust and parry it away to safety.
Quintero has a speculative shot from a long way out but fails to hit the target, sending Emiliano Martinez behind his net to collect the ball for a goal-kick.
Messi and Di Maria work a short-corner routine from the right but an alert Ramos dispossesses the Juventus winger inside his own penalty area before winning a free-kick.
OFF THE POST! Messi strikes the free-kick from 27 yards out, looking to catch the goalkeeper at his near post. The trick almost works as Guerra is sent scrambling across his line but the Argentina captain can only find the woodwork as Panama escape unscathed.
Messi is scythed down by Galvan, with Di Maria and De Paul immediately entering the fray to protect their captain. It’s a yellow card for Galvan, while Argentina have a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area.
Guerra plays a pass out to the right for Anderson but an eager Tagliafico crashes into the wing-back, sending the pair to the ground in a heap. It’s a free-kick for Panama, right in front of the technical area.
Argentina will be expected to dominate possession, with Panama no doubt set on ceding the ball to their opponents. With a low block and five defenders at the back for the visitors, Messi and company will need to be clever in tight spaces to unpick the lock.
De Paul plays a lovely pass through the lines for Molina but his low, centring cross is cut out easily by Ramos on the penalty spot.
Anderson skips past a pressing Alvarez to escape danger and exit his penalty area but Mac Allister comes across to close down the space and catches the wing-back with an elbow. It’s a free-kick for Panama, who will get it up the field.
Murillo’s corner is headed on by Galvan but Emiliano Martinez wins the aerial duel and claims the loose ball with two hands.
Quintero swings a lovely cross into the penalty area for Cordoba but the ball misses its intended target. Stephens keeps it alive on the far side and wins a corner-kick for his industry.
Messi slips past three players in midfield and gets himself to the edge of the 18-yard box but the ensuing shot is a routine effort for Guerra to stop.
Messi sends an outswinging corner towards the near post but it’s missed by Mac Allister which provides Stephens with an easy clearance.
Argentina get the match underway from the kick-off!
Panama name Guerra in goal with three centre-backs ahead of him in Galan, Peralta and Ramos. Anderson and Farina get the nod at wing-back, while the pair of Murillo and Gudino will operate in midfield. Quintero and Stephens are deployed as wingers and Cordoba is chosen at centre-forward.
Argentina name an unchanged side from the XI that beat France in the World Cup final in December. Emiliano Martinez starts ahead of a back four of Molina, Romero, Otamendi and Tagliafico. De Paul, Fernandez and Mac Allister anchor midfield while Messi and Di Maria play either side of Alvarez.
PANAMA SUBS: Emerson Dimas, Jorge Serrano, Martin Moran, Miguel Camargo, Gilberto Hernandez, Ricardo Avila, Michael Casazola, Victor Medina, Omar Browne.
PANAMA XI (5-2-3): Jose Guerra; Ivan Anderson, Kevin Galan, Richard Peralta, Jiovany Ramos, Edgardo Farina; Jose Murillo, Irving Gudino; Cristian Quintero, Ronaldo Cordoba, Alfredo Stephens.
ARGENTINA SUBS: Franco Armani, Geronimo Rulli, Juan Foyth, Gonzalo Montiel, Leandro Paredes, German Pezzella, Marcos Acuna, Exequiel Palacios, Angel Correa, Thiago Almada, Giovani Lo Celso, Guido Rodriguez, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Lisandro Martinez.
ARGENTINA XI (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister; Lionel Messi, Julian Alvarez, Angel Di Maria.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with our hosts!
Panama have the unenviable task of taking Lionel Scaloni’s side in Buenos Aires, having drawn their last four friendlies consecutively. With their last win coming in September 2022 against Bahrain, the visitors will be looking for a positive performance ahead of a CONCACAF Nations League fixture against Costa Rica in five days’ time.
Argentina take to the pitch for the first time since becoming World Champions for the third time in their history, with a raucous crowd expected at the Estadio Mas Monumental in Buenos Aires. The supporters in the stands could be in line to see more than just the parading of the trophy however, with captain Lionel Messi one goal away from his 800th career goal for club and country, and two away from a centenary of strikes for his nation.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the international friendly between Argentina and Panama!