Mercurial Messi takes Arg to Copa final
Before the game, Lionel Messi had equalled Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 54 goals for Argentina’s top goal scorer spot but with the second goal of the match, Messi overtook Batistuta to achieve the feat.
The host nation came into the game hoping to pull off the unlikely but what followed was a disaster as they were bowled over by the quality of not 11 men but just one, Lionel Messi.
Just as the game kick-started, in the 3rd minute itself, Ezequiel Lavezzi scored a beautiful header from a delicious through ball by Messi and USA were already chasing the game.
What was most disappointing about USA’s performance was the fact that poor touches, misplaced passes and disconnected players was all that was visible from their end.
In the midst of Argentina’s continuous movement, a bright moment for USA arrived when in the 22nd minute, USA displayed excellent defending against a dangerously close Argentinian move from a quick free kick.
But what followed was a sublime view as the viewers got the best of Messi in the 32nd minute of the game. Messi was brought down by Wondolowski outside the box and Messi took a brilliant free kick into the top right corner. The strike was perfectly placed and though Guzan’s fingers were close but he sure had no chance there.
By the time, the clocked ticked 45 minutes, USA were almost definitely bidding the tournament a heavy goodbye.It proved to be a field day for Argentina yet again when just 5 minutes into the second half and La Albiceleste found their third breakthrough in the form of Gonzalo Higuain. USA defence split open as Messi caught hold of the ball and cut through to lay it off for Higuain who tapped it in.
USA seemed so weak throughout the game that it felt like they were intimidated by the fact that they were battling against Argentina for a spot in the final. Late in the 86th minute of the game, Messi broke out on yet again passing the ball to Higuain just at the end who struck it in perfectly.
The night was a terrible one for USA and it was definitely the worst possible exit for the hosts of the tournament.
Argentina reached the second Copa America final in a row and will await either Chile or Colombia at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Monday.