In the famous Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lionel Messi, and his team started off the World Cup Qualifiers against Ecuador. It was the same opposition against which Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick and ensured a place for the World Cup in Russia. At home, the Albiceleste were expected to shine, but it was one of those nights, where the Argentines looked pale.
Messi scored from the penalty spot and it was the only goal of the match.
Lautaro Martínez did not get much of the ball despite Lionel Scaloni’s team having much of the possession. Lucas Ocampos, Rodrigo de Paul, and Gonzalo Montiel were responsible for most of Argentina’s attack down the right-wing.
Argentina had a great chance early in the second half. A cross sent in by Paredes found Lautaro whose pass went to Ocampos but his driven effort was saved by the goalkeeper of Ecuador.
Other than this, in the whole match, the nervousness of the Argentine players was palpable.
Messi and Argentina played at an empty La Bombonera – the iconic home of Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors – amid the Covid-19 crisis.
After the match Messi shared his opinion with the press:
“We knew it was going to be complicated, but the most important thing is that we won and now we have to work to keep growing.”
“It was important to start off with a win because we know how difficult the world cup qualifiers are.”
“The matches are always tough. We hoped the level of play would be different but it’s been almost a year since we played together, this was our first game back and the nervousness makes it complicated.”
“Being able to go back and play with the Argentina national team and give happiness to people with the win, beyond the game, serves to decompress. Much strength to all Argentines.”