The South American World Cup Qualifiers are done for 2020, and Argentina continued their unbeaten start with a 2-0 win away to Peru to reach 10 points in four matches. Lionel Messi started and played all 90 minutes of what was a pretty comfortable victory for the Albiceleste, who scored early and cruised to three points against a struggling Peruvian team.
As the home team in desperate need of their first win, Peru made a strong start to the game, pressing with intensity and looking to create through the middle of the pitch with Christian Cueva as the primary source of talent in midfeld.
Argentina knew they were the better team and just needed to weather the early storm, and that’s exactly what they did. As soon as they assumed control of possession, the visitors started moving it with patience to find the chances, and Nicolás González buried the first one with a powerful finish to give his team the lead.
The Albiceleste started to dominate after going ahead, with Messi constantly looking to combine with Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso in midfield, and that’s how the second goal was created until the ball found Lautaro Martínez one on one with Gallese, and the Inter Milan striker rounded the keeper and made it 2-0 with a tap-in.
Peru made a late surge in the final 10 minutes of the half and found some spaces in the final third, but they couldn’t bring any real danger and Argentina had a deserved two-goal lead at halftime.
With a two-goal lead on the road against a desperate team, Argentina decided to give Peru the ball and look to kill the game on the counter while also trying to avoid any big trouble against a team that struggled to create any offense in the first half.
The hosts had a lot of bodies forward in the first few moments, but Argentina quickly regained control of possession and started cruising and running out the clock, though they still managed to create good chances including a beautiful run and a narrow miss by Messi.
The last few minutes were uneventful and the final whistle came to end a comfortable night for Argentina, who complete a strong start to the Qualifiers. Uruguay and Brazil are up next when the games return in March, and this team looks good enough to compete with the best in the continent.
Peru: Gallese; Corzo (Advíncula 70’), Santamaría, Abram, Trauco; Aquino (Cartagena 88’), Yotún (Calcaterra 88’); Carillo, Cueva (Ruidiaz 80’), Flores (Polo 70’); Lapadula
Argentina: Armani; Montiel, M. Quarta, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul (Ocampos 57’), Paredes, Lo Celso, González (Di María 71’); Messi, Lautaro (Gómez 89’)
Goals: González (17’), Lautaro (28’)