Lionel Messi and Argentina’s troubles continued in El Salvador as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Columbia in the Copa America Group B opener.
The 31-year old was central to Argentina’s splendid attacking display in the second half, but two late goals from Columbia, including a wonder strike from substitute Roger Martinez, made it a night to forget for the Albiceleste.
Lionel Messi is yet to win a major trophy with the senior team and is looking to put things right in this Copa America which would end a 14-year wait. However, the Argentine forward has endured a difficult start to the campaign hoping that his team will bounce back in the remaining two games against Paraguay and Qatar.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria started up-front with Lionel Messi but failed to complement the Barcelona man. Manager Lionel Scaloni deployed a young line-up, including the likes of Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso in midfield. However, the new-look Argentina side endured a fate similar to previous Copa America editions.
“We leave here feeling bitter,” Lionel Messi said following the Group B clash. “In the second half we had our chances. In the first half we retreated a little and were holding on, but in the second we really opened up. Whenever you lose it’s hard for us, we usually take it badly. Now we have to think about Paraguay.”
Argentina were the better team in the second half but were unable to contain the counter-attacking threat of Columbia which ultimately paid off. Substitute Roger Martinez, at the 71st minute, collected a long cross-field ball from James Rodriguez, cut inside the right-back and hit a bullet shot in the right corner.
And only four minutes from full-time, Columbia put the last sword through Argentina when another substitute in Duvan Zapata scored from a delicious cross by Jefferson Lerma.
Another fan angle gives a better view of the outstanding effort from Martinez.