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Key Events

87'
M. Estrada
Á. Mena
78'
N. Otamendi
Yellow Card
43'
E. Valencia
Yellow Card
21'
L. Paredes
Yellow Card
13'
L. Messi
Penalty Goal
1 - 0

Match Stats

Possession
58% 41%
2
4
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 2 0
Total Passes 547 400
More
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Live table
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- PTS Form
1 Brazil BRA Brazil 17 14 3 0 40 5 +35 45 W W W D D
2 Argentina ARG Argentina 17 11 6 0 27 8 +19 39 D W W W D
3 Uruguay URU Uruguay 18 8 4 6 22 22 0 28 W W W W L
4 Ecuador ECU Ecuador 18 7 5 6 27 19 +8 26 D L D D W
5 Peru PER Peru 18 7 3 8 19 22 -3 24 W L D W W
6 Colombia COL Colombia 18 5 8 5 20 19 +1 23 W W L L D
7 Chile CHI Chile 18 5 4 9 19 26 -7 19 L L W L L
8 Paraguay PAR Paraguay 18 3 7 8 12 26 -14 16 L W L L D
9 Bolivia BOL Bolivia 18 4 3 11 23 42 -19 15 L L L L W
10 Venezuela VEN Venezuela 18 3 1 14 14 34 -20 10 L L L W L

Key

Final Tournament
Intercontinental Play-off

Commentary

That concludes our commentary of the CONMEBOL World Cup 2022 qualifying match between Argentina and Ecuador! We hope you enjoyed it!
Argentina will travel to face Bolivia in five days, while Ecuador host Uruguay on the same day.
It wasn’t comfortable by any means, but Argentina get all three points in their first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup, beating Ecuador by 1-0. Messi’s penalty after 13 minutes was all that separated the two sides, as the Albiceleste were rarely troubled at the back. The combination of Lautaro Martinez, Messi and Ocampos didn’t particularly work as the hosts laboured to create chances, but the latter did have a wonderful opportunity to double the advantage; a chance denied by the fingertips of the goalkeeper. Ecuador showed little going forward, but did not wilt under immense pressure - and they should be happy with their endeavour if nothing else.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 1-0 ECUADOR.
90' + 4' De Paul lines up a shot and fires from 20 yards out forcing Alexander Dominguez into a dive - but it misses the target narrowly.
90' + 2' Messi plays a one-two pass with Salvio on the corner of the 18 looking to get a shot off, but the Ecuador defence reads it well to intercept.
90' The fourth official indicates that four minutes will be added to the end of the 90 for stoppages.
M. Estrada
Á. Mena
87' Mena is withdrawn by Alfaro as Estrada gets a chance to impress.
86' Messi looks to link up with Alario just outside the Ecuador penalty area, but a heavy touch from the captain allows Estupinan to cut out the pass.
N. Domínguez
L. Ocampos
84' It’s a double change as Nicolas Dominguez also gets to stretch his legs, replacing Ocampos.
J. Foyth
G. Montiel
84' Foyth is in for Montiel to shore up the defence with just over five minutes left.
83' Franco lofts a high cross to the far post looking for Valencia, but a big leap from Armani sees the goalkeeper get there first.
81' Ecuador have lost each of their last six World Cup qualification matches - last winning in 2016; a 3-0 victory over Venezuela.
R. Ibarra
M. Caicedo
79' Caicedo is taken off for Romario Ibarra with just over 10 minutes remaining.
N. Otamendi
Yellow Card
78' Otamendi is dispossessed by Plata in midfield, which forces the defender to dive into a tackle in order to prevent a counter-attack. It’s a yellow card.
L. Alario
Lautaro Martínez
76' Lautaro Martinez’s match ends after 76 minutes, as Alario is chosen to replace him.
74' Messi’s throughball for Lautaro Martinez is repelled immediately, but it’s only cleared back into the path of the Argentina captain, whose subsequent effort towards goal is blocked out for a corner.
72' Messi’s corner evades the heads of his team-mates as it rolls towards the far side of the penalty area. Lautaro Martinez is able to catch up to it and put a cross back in the area, but Alexander Dominguez rises highest to catch it.
70' Plata takes Tagliafico down, sending the left-back to the turf holding his ankle. It’s been a feisty match but has somewhat surprisingly only produced two cards.
68' Estupinan bursts down the left, leaving Montiel in his wake as he drives into the penalty area and hits a low shot, which bounces off of Armani before he is able to smother the effort.
E. Salvio
M. Acuña
66' Argentina’s first change of the evening sees Acuna replaced by Salvio.
G. Plata
R. Ibarra
64' Renato Ibarra will play no further part in this contest, as Plata comes on to replace him.
63' Acuna’s sliding challenge on Preciado gets the referee’s attention as Ecuador are awarded a free-kick just inside Argentina’s half.
61' Montiel’s delivery from the right is poor as he fails to beat the left-back in an attempt to find Lautaro Martinez in the penalty area.
59' Renato Ibarra is once again in the middle of proceedings as he’s taken down by Tagliafico, grabbing his right hamstring on his way to the turf. It doesn’t appear serious as he gets back to his feet - but the heavy wrapping that’s already there isn’t a good sign.
57' Renato Ibarra puts a heavy challenge on De Paul, which is followed up by a Caicedo tackle on Paredes. The Ecuador midfield is not letting their Argentina counterparts settle on the ball, forcing the Albiceleste to move it quickly in tight areas.
54' Arreaga presses the Argentina back line high, but he’s too eager to win the ball off Messi as the Argentina captain goes over under the pressure and wins his side a free-kick.
52' Preciado meets Arboleda’s pass with a first-time looping volley into the penalty area, but Armani is able to come forward and make a comfortable catch ahead of the striker.
50' Ecuador is looking to reach the World Cup finals for the fourth time in their history, after 2002, 2006 and 2014. Should Argentina reach Qatar, it will be their 18th appearance at the tournament.
48' OCAMPOS DENIED BY THE KEEPER! The forward receives the headed knock-down from Messi and attempts to bend it towards the far post, but Alexander Dominguez gets a hand to it - palming the ball past the post for a corner.
46' Ecuador get the match restarted from the kick-off!
Á. Preciado
E. Ferigra
46' A substitution at half-time sees Preciado replace Ferigra at right-back.
Argentina won’t be fully assured of their position until they score a second goal, but they should feel relatively assured with the advantage. With quality on the bench in both midfield and attack, Scaloni has the options required to both add to the lead as well as hold it. With the likes of Palacios and Gomez waiting on the bench, Ecuador cannot lose their focus or leave gaps in defence as they push forward for an equaliser.
Argentina will be happy to head into the interval a goal up after Messi’s confident penalty separated the two sides after 13 minutes. The Albiceleste haven’t been at their creative best despite being given the chance to go ahead from 12 yards out, but they’ve looked much more confident than their opponents. Ecuador have been forced to work very hard and chase shadows. It’s led to a bit of frustration, as the challenges have started flying in.
45' + 4' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 1-0 ECUADOR.
45' + 3' The free-kick is put to the far post in search of Ferigra by Renato Ibarra, but an offside in the build-up means Ecuador lose the opportunity to attack from the set-piece.
45' + 2' De Paul gives Ecuador a late free-kick on the left touchline.
45' The fourth official indicates two minutes will be added for stoppages.
E. Valencia
Yellow Card
43' Valencia is again late in a challenge to win the ball, but this time the referee brandishes his card. It's a yellow for the Ecuador captain.
41' Lucas Martinez lofts it forward for the run of Ocampos, but Arriaga comes across to put it out of play for a throw.
39' With five minutes left in the first half, Ecuador will be happy to go into the interval down by a goal. They’ve been made to work very hard in the first half, with little offensive success to show for it.
37' An Argentina backpass into their own half is almost cut out by Valencia, who has since recovered from his earlier knock. Eagerness gets the better of the Ecuador forward, however, as he fouls Lucas Martinez in pursuit of the ball.
35' There hasn’t been less than two goals in this fixture since a 0-0 draw in a friendly match in 2013; a run of four matches.
32' Messi floats the set-piece into the penalty area, but two strong fists from Alexander Dominguez clears it away.
30' Tagliafico chips it into the penalty area looking for Ocampos, but it’s just too high for the forward. He manages to collect the ball and fizz it back into the six-yard box looking for Lautaro Martinez, but it’s quickly cleared for a corner.
28' This match is being played in an aggressive manner by the visitors, who are flying into every tackle in order to win the ball back. Montiel is the latest target, as he is pressured physically into putting the ball out for a throw.
26' The referee blows play to a halt as Valencia is down holding his side in some pain. He had gone into a 50-50 tackle with Otamendi minutes earlier, and perhaps is still feeling the effects.
23' Ecuador are enjoying a spell of possession in midfield, but Argentina are holding their shape well. There hasn’t been any incision from the visitors, who are forced to knock it around from left to right.
L. Paredes
Yellow Card
21' A dangerous sliding challenge in midfield from Paredes on Renato Ibarra earns the Argentina midfielder a yellow card.
19' Messi drives through the heart of midfield, passing it off and receiving it back before attempting a left-footed curler. The defence is immediately on their toes though as four bodies converge to block the attempt.
17' Lucas Martinez plays a quick pass forward looking for the foot of Messi, but Gruezo cuts across and wins the ball back in the nick of time for Ecuador.
15' It’s been about as poor a start as possible for Ecuador, who have it all to do at the Bombonera after going a goal behind. They’ve shown little in the way of attack, with the forwards really struggling to get into the game.
L. Messi
Penalty Goal
13' NEVER IN DOUBT! Messi steps up and hammers it home from 12 yards out - lashing it to the right. The goalkeeper had guessed correctly, but the pace of the shot was simply too much! 1-0 Argentina!
11' PENALTY TO ARGENTINA! Ocampos drives into the penalty area and gets towards the byline, prompting a wild and rash tackle from Estupinan - who scythes down the forward without any chance at the ball. The Albiceleste are given the opportunity to go a goal up from the spot!
9' Ecuador’s first real attack of the game comes down the left, but Estipinan’s low cross is fired into nobody as Armani is able to comfortably step off his line and claim it.
7' Messi takes the corner short and attempts to fire it in from a different angle, but a foul in the penalty area allows Ecuador to clear from a free-kick.
5' An early ball played to Messi ends in a corner after his lay-off for Lautaro Martinez ends in a blocked shot.
3' Argentina will look to better their third-place result in CONMEBOL qualifying for the World Cup in 2018, when they finished behind Brazil and Uruguay.
1' Argentina get the match underway from the kick-off!
Dominguez starts in goal for Ecuador in Alfaro’s first XI in charge of Ecuador. The back four will consist of Ferigra, Arreaga, Arboleda and Esutpinan, while Renato Ibarra, Gruezo, Franco and Caicedo will play across the midfield. In attack, Mena plays alongside former West Ham and Everton striker Valencia.
Scaloni starts with the familiar Armani in goal, with Montiel and Tagliafico either side of centre-backs Lucas Martinez and Otamendi. De Paul, Paredes and Acuna form a midfield trio while Ocampos and captain Messi will look to supply lone striker Lautaro Martinez.
ECUADOR SUBS: Junior Sornoza, Angelo Preciado, Michael Estrada, Hernan Galindez, Pedro Ortiz, Gonzalo Plata, Leonardo Campana, Mario Pineida, Jose Cifuentes, Felix Torres, Romario Ibarra, Jhegson Mendez.
ECUADOR XI (4-4-2): Alexander Dominguez; Erick Ferigra, Xavier Arreaga, Robert Arboleda, Pervis Estupinan; Renato Ibarra, Carlos Gruezo, Alan Franco, Moises Caicedo; Enner Valencia, Angel Mena.
ARGENTINA SUBS: Juan Foyth, Alejandro Gomez, Carlos Correa, Esteban Andrada, Lucas Alario, Nehuen Perez, Guido Rodriguez, Nicolas Dominguez, Eduardo Salvio, Exequiel Palacios, Giovanni Simeone, Emiliano Martinez.
ARGENTINA XI (4-3-2-1): Franco Armani; Gonzalo Montiel, Lucas Martinez, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Marcos Acuna; Lionel Messi, Lucas Ocampos; Lautaro Martinez.
With 10 minutes remaining before kick-off, let's take a look at how the two sides will line up - starting with the hosts!
Argentine Gustavo Alfaro is tasked with defeating his home nation as coach of Ecuador’s national side in his first match overseeing La Tricolor. The side have won three of their last five matches - all friendlies; though one of those two defeats was a 6-1 drubbing to tonight’s opponents.
Lionel Scaloni and Argentina will look to get their quest for a place in the World Cup started on the right foot with a win in Buenos Aires - just under one year since they last took to the pitch; a 2-2 draw with Uruguay. Home form is exceptionally important in the marathon of CONMEBOL qualifying, so the Albiceleste will be under pressure to get a result right from the off.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Ecuador!