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Venezuela v Argentina Live Commentary, 6/28/19

0 - 2
Lautaro Martínez (10)
G. Lo Celso (74)
Estadio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã)


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Lautaro Martinez put Argentina into an early lead they would never surrender, with Giovani Lo Celso adding a second late on as the Albiceleste secure a semi-final date with Brazil on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte. Venezuela enjoyed the lion's share of possession, but Argentina remained stingy in defence as they book their place in the last four.
Y. Soteldo
Yellow Card
90' + 5' Soteldo picks up a final booking for good measure, taking out Dybala on the flank after giving the ball away.
90' + 3' Venezuela will feel they maybe deserved a bit more today, given how they dominated possession and really limited Argentina's chances going forward, but the gap in quality proved to be the difference in the end as the Albiceleste were able to make the most of their few looks in attack.
90' + 1' There will be a minimum of five minutes added on at the end of this match, which appear to be little more than a formality now as the tempo has fizzled out. Argentina are doing well to keep the ball near the corner flag, with frustration undoubtedly setting in for Venezuela.
89' Assuming this result holds, Argentina will have beaten Venezuela all six times they have faced at the Copa America, scoring 30 goals and conceding only three.
87' No shortage of stoppages over the last five minutes, as yet another player goes down, forcing play to come to a halt. Players gather around Di Maria, who rolls around on the ground, but the training staff doesn't even come out to look at him, suggesting this isn't much more than a time-wasting tactic.
P. Dybala
S. Agüero
85' And now it's Argentina's turn to make their final change, with Aguero making the slow walk to the touchline as he's replaced by Dybala.
L. Seijas
R. Rosales
83' Finally Venezuela are back to a full compliment of players as they get Seijas on to take the place of the injured Rosales.
82' Deflected behind! Plenty of anticipation as Venezuela win a free-kick 25 yards from goal, in good position for a shot. Rondon finally takes, following a short run up, but his effort deflects behind for a corner. Meanwhile, Rosales is fighting with the training staff to try and get back out onto the pitch. They're not letting him, having to physically restrain him before a few substitutes drag him into the dugout.
80' Safe hands from Armani as he comes out to claim a corner. The keeper has commanded his area well today. Venezuela have had very little success putting crosses into the box, yet they've failed to change their approach.
78' Possession was evenly shared in the first half, but Venezuela have seen more than a 70 per cent share since the restart. All that time spent on the ball and they have just one shot on target to show for it.
76' A clash of heads leaves Rosales down in the Argentina penalty area and in need of treatment. These are desperate times for Venezuela, who have no choice but to throw everything and everyone into the box.
G. Lo Celso
74' ARGENTINA ARE SURELY THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS! Disaster strikes for Venezuela who now trail 2-0 as Lo Celso is in the right place at the right time to turn the ball into an empty net after Farinez spilled Aguero's straight-forward strike from 20 yards. That's poor from the keeper, and it will likely cost his side a place in the next round.
73' Martinez scored off the bench in his last appearance against Argentina, a 3-1 friendly victory over them in March.
Josef Martínez
D. Machís
71' There's the change that was expected to come earlier. Rondon finally has a strike partner as Martinez, last season's leading scorer in MLS, comes on at the expense of Machis.
70' WHAT A CHANCE! Armani is forced into his first save of the match, and it's a massive one as he reacts expertly to parry Hernandez's fierce effort from 12 yards, after the full-back was played through delightfully over the top by Rincon!
G. Lo Celso
M. Acuña
68' A second Argentina change in the space of four minutes sees Lo Celso replace Acuna in midfield, after the latter replaced the former in the starting XI today.
66' Yet another delay as the referee gets word that the VAR team is taking a closer look at a coming together that resulted in a goal kick for Argentina. There was nothing in it, but it still takes them a good minute for the referee to allow play to continue.
Á. Di María
Lautaro Martínez
64' Argentina's first change of the match sees Martinez, the game's only scorer, replaced by Di Maria. That should see the Albiceleste transition to a more traditional 4-3-3, with Messi and Di Maria on either side of Aguero.
62' Machis and Soteldo are linking up nicely down the left flank. The substitute plays the former into space, but his cross is deflected behind. Argentina fail to effectively clear their lines following the subsequent corner, as the pressure stays on.
60' The training staff are called out to attend to Machis, and this would be a big blow for Venezuela should he not be able to continue. He's in fine form in front of goal, scoring twice against Bolivia in their final group match. It looks like he's dealing with an arm injury, but the way he popped back up suggests he will be fine to carry on.
58' Again Argentina are getting into a bit of a dangerous rut, content to let Venezuela keep possession, inviting them forward as just about everyone is behind the ball. Now can Dudamel's side find the necessary quality to take advantage?
Y. Soteldo
L. Del Pino
56' The first change of the match is made by Venezuela, and it's an attacking switch as Soteldo comes into midfield, taking the place of Del Pino.
54' Possession is being enjoyed by La Vinotinto, but they're struggling to find their way into the dangerous areas. A patient spell on the ball eventually amounts to nothing, before Aguero is picked out on an Argentina counter. The striker dribbles his way beyond a pair of defenders, before navigating his way around two more through sheer bullish determination, but eventually a heavy touch sees the ball run behind.
52' Venezuela are attempting to pack more bodies in the penalty area, in the hopes of freeing up space for Rondon, who has been closely marked in this match. That's where bringing on someone like Martinez, his own scoring ability aside, could really help.
50' Argentina are playing in the Copa America quarter-finals for the 10th time, only failing to appear in 2001 when they did not participate in the competition; they have progressed to the final in four of the last five editions (losing each time).
48' Encouraging from Argentina! Martinez is played through by a delicious ball from Paredes, as he bursts forward into space, but the end result is a let down as his shot smacks the outside of the post and goes behind!
47' Nasty coming together! Tagliafico does well to win a free-kick on the left flank, but the subsequent delivery is too close to Farinez who easily punches clear. Pezzella still tries to attack it, and winds up crashing through the keeper well after the ball is gone! It certainly looked a bad foul, but somehow he's not booked!
46' Venezuela get the second half underway! No changes for either side at the interval.
The tempo of the match should certainly pick up over the final 45 minutes with Venezuela forced to come out of their shell and press for an equaliser. Dudamel might not want to wait long to bring on Martinez up top, with Rondon certainly in line to benefit from having another striker to play off of.
Lautaro Martinez rewarded Argentina for their high-flying start as he provided them with an early lead at the Maracana, but it's been a rather stale affair since with neither side managing to create much going forward. Venezuela have done well to claw their way back into the match after falling behind, and that should offer them plenty of encouragement ahead of the second half.
45' + 2' VITAL CHALLENGE! Excellent tracking from Rosales, who does really well to spot and stick with the run of Martinez, sliding in at the far post to prevent him from getting on the end of Acuna's teasing cross.
45' There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of this first half.
S. Rondón
Yellow Card
44' The bookings piling up once again at the end of this first half, as Rondon becomes the third Venezuela player to see yellow, this for a foul on Paredes.
M. Acuña
Yellow Card
42' Acuna is a little bit too eager to win the ball back for his side high up the pitch, and becomes the second Argentina player booked as he fouls Murillo.
40' Venezuela apply an encouraging spell of pressure, as a free-kick followed by a corner keep Argentina hemmed into defence. The end result is a free header for Chancellor, but he gets the contact all wrong as his header sails harmlessly over the bar.
38' Well despite how it has played out since the goal, it is nicely set up for the second half. Venezuela will surely have to press for an equaliser, and that should afford Argentina space on the break. Only a matter of time before this match becomes stretched.
36' Suddenly the referee is showing some leniency, with Aguero escaping a booking for a hard and poorly timed challenge on Chancellor, who is left writhing on the ground in pain. Encouragingly, though, the centre-back is able to get up under his own power and walk off the knock.
34' The match has struggled to develop much of a flow since the goal. It's been rather stop-start, with Argentina a lot more compact as they're showing far less desire to get after the Venezuela defence, which is surprising given all the success they had early on.
32' Of the quarter-finalists, Venezuela allowed the most opposition shots (46) and attempt the fewest (32) in the group stages.
30' Herrera hesitates! Venezuela work it around cleverly as they present Herrera with a decent opening just inside the penalty area, but he's slow to take it as he tries to switch onto his left, allowing Otamendi to recover and snuff out the chance.
28' Argentina have to be careful not to let Venezuela back into this match. They've really taken their foot off the gas, and the Vinotino are growing in confidence as a result. Still plenty of time left at the Maracana.
26' Penalty appeals denied! Machis puts together a nice little burst as he gets forward and into the penalty area, before going to ground following contact from Foyth. It was a clean, fair challenge from the full-back, though, and a good decision by the referee to wave play on.
24' The match has entered a cagey spell with things largely contained in midfield over the last five minutes. Venezuela are certainly spending a lot more time in possession than they were early on though, offering their supporters signs of encouragement going forward.
22' The intensity has cooled a bit following that determined start from Argentina, but the damage is certainly done. Venezuela will have to employ a very different approach than they are used, trailing for the first time at this Copa America.
20' Argentina average 5.6 goals per game against Venezuela in Copa America; it is the highest average between two teams who have faced each other on more than one occasion in the competition (28 goals in five games).
18' Better from Venezuela, who enjoy their first attacking spell of the match. They win a corner, before Murillo eventually sees a shot blocked which nearly falls kindly for Rondon, but he fouls Tagliafico in an attempt to get onto the end of it and the pressure is relieved.
Lautaro Martínez
Yellow Card
16' The booking are really piling up here, with Martinez going into the book for Argentina as he fouled Rosales with a late challenge. The referee has set a dangerous precedent.
Y. Herrera
Yellow Card
15' Another yellow card for Venezuela as Herrera goes into the book for a strong foul on Foyth.
13' And now there's a stoppage as the referee gets word in his headset that there might have been an incident worthy of another look. It's for a possible handball in the penalty area, but after two minutes of listening to his earpiece, he waves play on, never going across to have a look. That seems quite an unnecessary delay.
T. Rincón
Yellow Card
12' More problems mount for Venezuela as their skipper Rincon picks up an early booking for a bad foul. This certainly hasn't been the start they were hoping for.
S. Agüero
10' Aguero is credited with the assist as it was his strike which was eventually turned in by Martinez.
Lautaro Martínez
10' ARGENTINA OFF AND RUNNING! They're rewarded for their high-flying start as Martinez smartly redirects Aguero's strike into the back of the net following a corner! All of Argentina can breathe a collective sigh of relief, they lead 1-0.
9' Another close call for the Albiceleste as Aguero is nearly played through following a tidy bit of interplay down the left. One-way traffic right now, with Venezuela really struggling to get their footing in this match.
7' Martinez wins Argentina's second corner of the match, and the ensuing delivery is nodded on by Pezzella, straight into the path of Martinez. The striker is taken a bit by surprise as the ball falls kindly to him a few yards out, but he can't sort his footing as it bounces tamely off him and safely into the arms of Farinez.
5' Argentina commanding the lion's share of possession in these opening stages, certainly playing with a confidence that was lacking a bit throughout the group stage. Perhaps that win over Qatar really did flip a switch in their heads.
3' Almost a dream start! Venezuela caught napping a bit in defence as Martinez plays Aguero through with a simple pass, but Farinez does really well to get across and close down the angle, making a smart save with his legs as he turns it behind at the near post!
1' AND THEY'RE OFF! Argentina in their classic sky-blue and white stripes as they get the match underway, with Venezuela in their traditional burgundy strip.
SUBS: Matias Suarez, Guido Rodriguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Milton Casco, Renzo Saravia, Agustin Marchesin, Juan Musso, Ramiro Funes Mori, Paulo Dybala, Roberto Pereyra, Angel Di Maria, Guido Pizarro.
ARGENTINA (4-3-3): Franco Armani; Juan Foyth, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo de Paul, Leandro Paredes, Marcos Acuna; Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Lautaro Martinez.
SUBS: Fernando Aristeguieta, Yeferson Soteldo, Joel Graterol, Josef Martinez, Luis Seijas, Rolf Feltscher, Juan Pablo Anor, Yordan Osorio, Rafael Romo, Jefferson Savarino.
VENEZUELA (4-5-1): Wuilker Farinez; Ronald Hernandez, Jhon Chancellor, Luis Del Pino, Roberto Rosales; Jhon Murillo, Yangel Herrera, Junior Moreno, Tomas Rincon, Darwin Machis; Salomon Rondon.
Despite finally getting a win under their belt against Qatar, Lionel Scaloni has made a couple of changes to his side. German Pezzella partners Nicolas Otamendi in defence, pushing Juan Foyth to right-back and Renzo Saravia to the bench. Marcos Acuna, who featured as a substitute in the victory, gets his first start of the tournament at the expense of Giovani Lo Celso. Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez resume their partnership up top, with Lionel Messi slotting in just behind them.
Rafael Dudamel makes a pair of changes from the win over Bolivia in their final group match, both coming in midfield. Huesca's Yangel Herrera and Tondela's Jhon Murillo, who started the opening two matches, are both restored, at the expense of Jefferson Savarino and Juan Pablo Anor. Dudamel has opted to employ the same midfield as he did in the goalless draw with Brazil.
Only once in their history have Venezuela progressed beyond this stage, but they’ve proven themselves as a tough out at this tournament. Combine that with a few lethargic displays from Argentina, and an upset might just be brewing.
Venezuela, on the other hand, were the only non-group winner to remain unbeaten through the preliminary stage, drawing Peru and Brazil before beating Bolivia to ensure their place in the quarter-final.
Having lost three Copa America finals and a World Cup final, Messi is still searching for his first piece of international silverware. Argentina largely stumbled through the group stage, but victory over Qatar in their final match might just have got them back on track in time for the all-important knockout stage.
Lionel Messi leads Argentina back to Rio today for the first time since their defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, as the Albiceleste will look to exorcise their demons and keep their hopes of ending a lengthy trophy drought alive.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this Copa America quarter-final as Venezuela and Argentina clash at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro!