Messi Leads Argentina to Victory Over Canada in Copa America Opener

Argentina Starts Title Defense with 2-0 Win, Seeks Third Major Trophy in a Row

Lionel Messi’s brilliant playmaking helped Argentina secure a 2-0 victory against Canada as they kicked off their Copa America title defense on Thursday night.

In the 49th minute, Messi’s through ball set up Julian Alvarez for the opening goal. Later, in the 88th minute, Messi assisted Lautaro Martinez for the second goal, sealing the win for Argentina.

Argentina, aiming for their third consecutive major title after winning the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup, displayed their dominance in the match held in the United States for the second time in Copa America history.

Messi, with this match, set a Copa America record by playing his 35th game, surpassing Chile’s Sergio Livingstone’s record from 1941-53. He also extended his own record with his 18th assist in the tournament.

The first goal came after a throw-in, where Messi headed a pass through the defense to Alexis Mac Allister. Mac Allister, colliding with Canada’s goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, managed to side-foot a pass to Alvarez. With an almost empty net, Alvarez easily scored, marking his eighth goal in 32 international appearances.

Messi’s assist for the second goal saw him run through the midfield and deliver a perfectly timed pass to Martinez. Entering the match in the 76th minute, Martinez calmly scored his 25th international goal past Crepeau.

Argentina dominated the second half with a 12-3 shot advantage. Messi had two close chances but was denied by Crepeau’s diving save and defender Derek Cornelius’s block. He also missed a chip shot after a solo run in the 79th minute.

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Looking ahead, Argentina will face Chile on Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and conclude the first round against Peru on June 29 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Canada will play Peru on Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas, and finish the group stage against Chile on June 29 in Orlando, Florida.

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