Advertisement

Soccer: Lionel Messi, Argentina beat Paraguay in Copa America

Argentina's Lionel Messi (pictured) equaled Javier Mascherano's record of 147 appearances for the national team in a 1-0 win over Paraguay on Monday in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo by Fernando Bizerra Jr./EPA-EFE
Argentina's Lionel Messi (pictured) equaled Javier Mascherano's record of 147 appearances for the national team in a 1-0 win over Paraguay on Monday in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo by Fernando Bizerra Jr./EPA-EFE

June 22 (UPI) -- Alejandro Gomez's 10th-minute score was enough to lead Argentina to a win over Paraguay in the group stage of the Copa America soccer tournament. Lionel Messi also tied an Argentine appearance record in the victory.

Messi appeared in his 147th game for the national team, tying Javier Mascherano for the most appearances in history, in the victory Monday at Mane Garrincha in Brasília, Brazil. Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria assisted Gomez's goal.

Advertisement

The win clinched a spot for Argentina in the knockout round of the South American tournament.

"We deserved the victory," Di Maria told reporters. "We had many chances, but we were able to convert only once. We started strong. We tried to convert and win the game."

RELATED Soccer: Denmark's Christian Eriksen released from hospital

Messi dribbled up the right flank and passed to Di Maria about 35 yards from the goal to spark the lone scoring sequence.

The Argentine winger dribbled from right to left and slipped a left-footed pass through the Paraguay defense. Gomez ran onto the feed and used his first touch to chip Paraguay keeper Antony Silva.

Advertisement

Each team continued to attack throughout the match, but could not convert for another goal. Messi sent a free kick just wide of the left post in the 18th minute.

RELATED Soccer: Lionel Messi bends in free kick, passes rival Cristiano Ronaldo

Argentina also appeared to score off a Paraguay own goal in first-half stoppage time, but that goal was reversed due to an offside call on Messi.

Argentina battles Bolivia in another group stage match at 8 p.m. EDT Monday at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil.

RELATED Soccer: Christian Eriksen 'feels better' after on-field cardiac arrest

Latest Headlines