Argentina edges past Uruguay with Di Maria’s goal, Messi plays for 15 minutes

Di Maria

Argentina secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Uruguay in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Friday, despite the absence of Lionel Messi for most of the match. The Barcelona star, who is recovering from a left knee injury, came off the bench in the 76th minute and played for the final 15 minutes. Angel Di Maria, who wore the captain’s armband in Messi’s place, scored the only goal of the game in the seventh minute with a brilliant finish from Paulo Dybala’s assist.

Di Maria

Di Maria shines as Argentina’s leader

Di Maria, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, showed his quality and leadership as he led Argentina to a vital win over their arch-rivals. The 33-year-old winger scored his 23rd international goal with a superb volley from the edge of the box, after Dybala’s clever pass from the right flank. Di Maria also created some chances for his teammates, such as Joaquin Correa, who was denied by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera in the 74th minute.

Di Maria praised his team’s performance and said that they deserved the three points. He also expressed his happiness for wearing the captain’s armband and playing alongside Messi.

“It was a very tough game, but we played very well. We had the ball, we created chances, we defended well. We deserved to win,” Di Maria said after the match. “It was an honor to be the captain of this team, with so many great players. And to share the pitch with Messi, who is the best in the world, was amazing.”

Uruguay struggles to score without Cavani

Uruguay, on the other hand, had a frustrating night as they failed to find the back of the net, despite having more shots than Argentina. The Celeste were missing their star striker Edinson Cavani, who was suspended for the match after receiving a red card in the previous game against Ecuador. Cavani’s absence was felt by his partner Luis Suarez, who hit the post in the first half and had a quiet second half.

Uruguay also had some injury problems, as they lost defender Jose Maria Gimenez and midfielder Federico Valverde during the game. Coach Oscar Tabarez had to make some changes in his lineup and brought on some young players, such as Agustin Alvarez and Brian Rodriguez, who tried to make an impact in the final minutes. However, Argentina’s defense, led by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, held on for a clean sheet.

Martinez, who plays for Aston Villa, made some crucial saves throughout the game, especially in the second half when Uruguay increased their pressure. He denied Matias Vecino, Suarez, and Alvarez, and kept his fifth consecutive shutout for Argentina.

Argentina closes in on World Cup spot, Uruguay faces a tough battle

The win moved Argentina closer to securing a direct spot for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as they are second in the table with 28 points, six points behind leaders Brazil, who have a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 games. Argentina are also 10 points ahead of fifth-placed Colombia, who are in the playoff position. Only the top four teams qualify automatically for the World Cup, while the fifth-placed team has to play a two-legged intercontinental playoff.

Argentina will face Brazil on Tuesday in a highly anticipated clash, which will be a rematch of the Copa America final that Argentina won 1-0 in July. Messi, who scored the winning goal in that game, is expected to start for Argentina, as he said that he is feeling better after his injury.

“I’m feeling much better. I trained well this week and I’m ready to play. It will be a very difficult game against Brazil, but we have a great team and we are confident,” Messi said.

Uruguay, meanwhile, are in a tough battle for the fourth and fifth spots, as they are level on points with Colombia, but behind on goal difference. They are also only one point ahead of sixth-placed Paraguay, and two points ahead of seventh-placed Chile. Uruguay will face Bolivia on Tuesday, a team that they have beaten twice in the qualifiers, scoring six goals in each game. However, they will need to improve their finishing and their defense, if they want to avoid a slip-up that could cost them dearly.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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