Argentina started their Copa America in bizarre manner as Colombia beat them 2-0 at Salvador. Two goals from substitutes Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata handed Colombia their first victory over Argentina since 2007.
Having lost successive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016, Argentina came to the tournament eager to lift their first international trophy in 26 years and entered Salvador at the back of a 5-1 drubbing of Nicaragua a few days back. However, Colombia pulled off the win which was their first Copa America win over Argentina since 1999 when they beat Argentina 3-0 at Luque.
Argentina dominated the game on possession and attempts but were unable to cash in on the opportunities they had. Colombia had the first good scoring opportunity when Martinez’s shot went just wide off the post during the first half.
Argentina’s best opportunity to score came in the 66th minute when Nicolas Otamendi tried to head in Sergio Aguero’s cross. Colombian keeper David Ospina managed to block Ospina’s shot and the ball fell to an unmarked Messi who headed wide.
Things became a little bitter when Juan Cuadrado made a tackle on Messi and the Argentina players stepped in to confront him.
Roger Martinez eventually broke the deadlock in the 71st minute after he shot brilliantly from distance past Argentine goalie Franco Armani. Then with 4 minutes left on the clock, Duvan Zapata scored from Jefferson Lerma’s pass.
This was the first time since 1979 that Argentina lost their opening match of the Copa America. Messi and Aguero seemed far from lethal and these two along with the rest of the Argentina squad will have to buckle up and fight back if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Argentina’s next match of the competition is against Paraguay at Belo Horizonte on Wednesday.