Argentina beat resilient Qatar in tense clash to book quarters berth
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil: Lautaro Martinez (4) and Sergio Aguero (82) each scored a goal as 14-time Copa America champions Argentina beat Qatar 2-0 in their third Copa America clash on Sunday.
The final Group B clash which took place at Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, was a was a decisive one for both teams with only the winners making it to the next round.
Argentina, led by superstar Messi, after losing to Colombia and drawing with Paraguay in their first two matches, were looking to avoid an exit and pushed hard for a win against the fighting Asian champions.
The same scenario applied to Qatar after the 2022 World Cup hosts claimed a draw with Paraguay at the beginning of the tournament, before losing narrowly to Colombia.
Messi and Martinez were both off target with presentable opportunities in the first few minutes, but the latter makes no mistake this time. The forward intercepted a pass made by Qatar’s Bassem Al Rawi and he tucked it past goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb with a good finish to make it 1-0 in favour of Argentina.
Argentina netted a second goal that sealed their place in the last eight, when Aguero managed to get away from a couple of opposition players and then fired the ball across Al Sheeb.
The win lifted Argentina into second place in the Group B standings, meaning that they will be joining Colombia in the next round.
Qatar’s Almoez Ali (51), Karim Boudiaf (72) and Abdullah Al Ahrak (89) were shown the yellow cards.
Qatar, the Asian Cup champions, will return for 2020 Copa America along with Australia as the two invited teams next year.
The 12-team tournament will end on July 7.