Argentina 2 nil over Canada at Copa America opener

Lionel Messi’s pivotal plays helped Argentina secure a 2-0 victory over Canada in their Copa América opener on Thursday night. In the 49th minute, Messi’s through ball set up Julián Álvarez’s goal, and he later assisted Lautaro Martínez’s goal in the 88th minute. Argentina is aiming for a third consecutive major title after winning the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup.

Messi set a Copa América record by playing his 35th match, surpassing Chile’s Sergio Livingstone. He also extended his record with his 18th assist. Messi turns 37 on Monday and showcased his skill by creating the first goal through a header pass that led to Álvarez scoring. His assist for Martínez came after a central run, bringing Martínez’s international goal count to 25.

Messi had several scoring opportunities, including a diving save by Canada’s Maxime Crépeau in the 65th minute and a missed chip in the 79th minute. Despite a rough tackle in the 82nd minute, Messi continued to play.

Argentina will face Chile next in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and then Peru in Miami Gardens, Florida. Canada, making their Copa América debut under new coach Jesse Marsch, will play Peru in Kansas City and Chile in Orlando.

The tournament, hosted across 14 US stadiums and concluding on July 14, includes six teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean alongside 10 South American teams. Despite slow starts in previous tournaments, Argentina remains a strong contender. In this match, Canada’s best opportunity was a header by Stephen Eustáquio, saved by Argentina’s Emiliano Martínez.

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