On a special and emotional night, given the audience’s return to watching football and to the Monumental Stadium, Argentina’s national team welcomed Bolivia to play its first match at home as champion of the Americas, after the historic win against Brazil at the Maracana Stadium. The heat and the colors brought along by the fans were present in the lead up to the match and gradually increased as the fans filled the grandstands.
On the playing field, Argentina’s national team rose to the challenge: It threatened Bolivia with a shot by Lionel Messi and a high header by Lautaro Martinez off a cross by Angel Di Maria, who was on fire. Then, player no. 10 set the score at 1-0 with an amazing goal: Leandro Paredes recovered the ball and tapped it to no. 10, who did a wonderful nutmeg on Luis Haquin, and struck a shot inside Carlos Lampe’s right goalpost, making the fans explode with joy.
Argentina dominated the match and was very close to widening the lead: Martinez had scored off an assist by Di Maria, but his goal was disallowed due to offside. Then, the Inter forward failed to score off a good play set up by Messi, who later coupled up with player no. 11 to strike a left-footed shot that went just wide of the net. Bolivia had only one scoring opportunity, toward the end, with a shot by Henry Vaca, after a clearance error, that went high.
In the second half, Argentina didn’t keep the same dynamic, but refused to stop dominating and went for the goal that would settle the outcome. Paredes was close to scoring from outside the area and Messi had a chance at his feet as well. Argentina’s captain set up a great play with Martinez and struck an excellent shot on goal, leaving Lampe incapable of reacting and setting the score at 2-0.
The rest of the match was a party for Argentina, the team performed brilliantly, and the fans were chanting their support on the grandstands. Toward the end, Messi appeared again to take advantage of a rebound by Lampe, sealing the 3-0 result. Furthermore, Messi became the player with the highest number of goals scored for a South American national team, with a total of 79. Thanks to this victory, Argentina got to second place in the South American qualifiers, with 18 points and one match less.