Friday , June 21 2024

Argentina vs Ecuador Highlights: ARG 1-0 ECU, Di Maria scores winner, Messi returns in action

Argentina continued its winning start to 2024 with a solid, if not spectacular, victory in Chicago.

The Albiceleste knocked off Ecuador, 1-0, in a pre-Copa America friendly match at Soldier Field. Veteran winger Angel Di Maria scored the game’s lone goal after receiving it from defender Cristian Romero in the box and toe poking.

Argentina vs. Ecuador final score

Final Score Goal scorers
Argentina 1 Di Maria (40′)
Ecuador 0

Lionel Messi, who most of the crowd likely wanted him to play, came into the match in the 56th minute, but was largely anonymous. He had a free kick opportunity late, but his chance from the left side, just outside the box, missed the goal badly.

The match featured a lot of hard tackles, fouls, and even a few yellow cards, keeping referee Drew Fischer busy all night. Ecuador were whistled for 20 fouls while Argentina was whistled for 15, with many taking place without a whistle being blown.

When Ecuador wasn’t fouling Argentina, it was attempting to move on the break with its super speedsters. Alan Minda and Angelo Presciado both showed off the afterburners at times and had speed to kill, if not the technical ability needed to break through the tough Argentine defense. And 17-year-old playmaker Kendry Paez looked like he belonged and had a solid game. He was able to swap jerseys with Messi after the match.

Argentina vs. Ecuador: Live commentary, analysis, stats, and more

Full time: Argentina 1, Ecuador 0. It wasn’t always pretty, but the intensity level was high as was the speed of thought and speed of feet was impressive. Angel Di Maria’s goal proved to be the difference as both teams will heal up before playing again later this week.

90+4th min: Big save Galindez! Messi was in the middle but Fernandez went for goal instead and was denied. Messi now has a free kick at the edge of the box, he swings it towards goal but misses badly.

90th min: Four minutes of extra time.

88th min: Exequiel Palacios and Lucas Martinez come on for De Paul and Montiel

78th min: Angel Correa comes on for Alvarez and Paredes makes way for Nicolas Gonzalez. Angel Mena enters for Jeremy Sarmiento of Ecuador.

75th min: Franco crosses one in for Ecuador but it’s right at Martinez and he collects. Ecuador is ramping up the attacks as of late.

72nd min: Paez gets the ball on a break and chips it forward to Valencia but Emi Martinez is quickly off his line to stop the attack.

68th min: Alvarez with an outrageous outside of the boot flick and it seemed to surprise Fernandez, who couldn’t control it. Otherwise he would have nearly been through on goal.

67th min: Gruezo leaves a leg in late and takes down Paredes, earning a quick yellow card.

64th min: Ecuador’s 17-year-old playmaker Kendry Paez is working hard defensively and he just stepped into a passing lane to win the ball back at midfield and start a break.

62nd min: Reinforcements arrive for Ecuador. Enner Valencia and Carlos Gruezo come on for Alan Minda and Joao Ortiz.

60th min: Turnover by Ecuador leads to an Argentina break, Messi plays it to Fernandez out wide but his touch is too heavy and Galindez is able to block his cross into the middle towards Messi.

59th min: Some quick one-touch passing by Argentine gives Messi the ball on the edge of the box but Caicedo wins it off him.

56th min: Messi and Fernandez are on to huge roars from the Soldier Field crowd. Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez depart.

55th min: Another roar from the crowd. Messi is at the bench getting his jersey on and now is set to enter the field. Enzo Fernandez also getting set to come on. Probably good for Rodrigo De Paul to get a break after some hard fouls he’s suffered tonight.

53rd min: Ecuador has speed to burn. Minda goes to fifth gear and races past a couple of Argentine players before Romero slides in and takes the ball off him. This was after Preciado made Acuna miss with his speed on the other side of the field and earned a corner.

49th min: Save Galindez! Di Maria latches on to a pass to the right side of the box and he chops one forward to Alvarez. Alvarez spots Lautaro Martinez open in the box and he sends in a terrific floated cross, but Martinez’s header is straight at Galindez, who holds on.

48th min: Argentina creates a 2v1 overlap on the right side and Di Maria plays the simple pass to his right to the overlapping Montiel, but he loses his footing and Hincapie is fouled in the process.

46th min: The crowd is going wild, not for anything going on on the field, but that Messi is beginning to warm up on the sideline with the rest of the Argentina substitutes.

2nd Half Kickoff: We’re underway for the second half after an extended halftime break, was around 15 minutes before both teams came out of the locker room.

Halftime: Argentina 1-0 Ecuador. It was an intense and fast first half between these two South American foes. Argentina had the better chances throughout the half and eventually were rewarded, when Romero found Di Maria in the box and he poked home for his second goal in as many games in the Albiceleste shirt. Let’s see how things change in the second half when Messi enters.

45th min: Argentina plays out from the back beautifully and Lautaro Martinez plays a header back to Alvarez and on the half-volley, Alvarez fires a pass across the field again to Di Maria. The veteran winger drives towards goal and this time plays De Paul who’s making a lung-bursting run into the box, but Hincapie shepherds the ball out of play. End to end action.

44th min: The tackles continue to fly in. Montiel with a two-footed challenge to win the ball back before Hincapie fouls De Paul.

43rd min: Di Maria off the crossbar! Di Maria takes the free kick and curls it towards goal but it clangs off the crossbar and goes out of play. What a chance to make it 2-0.

42nd min: Alvarez sends a terrific cross-field pass to Di Maria, who takes it down on the right, cuts inside and draws a foul at the edge of the box from Hincapie.

41st min: Presciado with another hard foul, this time taking out Lo Celso after missing the ball. No yellow card but Fischer gives him a warning.

40th min: GOAL ARGENTINA! They finally have the breakthrough, as Di Maria latches onto a pass in the box, takes a touch and toe pokes one past Galindez into the far corner. Assist to Cristian Romero, who found himself on the edge of the box and delivered an outstanding pass and fake-out to the Ecuadorian defense to create the passing lane. 1-0, Argentina.

38th min: Argentina breaks forward on a counter-attack and Di Maria, on the right, tries to bend one with the outside of his boot but Galindez dives and holds on to the ball.

37th min: Presciado slides in hard on Acuna to clear the ball away, yet another dangerous hard tackle between these two teams.

35th min: Great analysis from Brian Dunseth on the English-language broadcast, as he points out that Argentina’s front three of Angel Di Maria, Julian Alvarez, and Lautaro Martinez have been rotating all around the field. Di Maria has been popping up on the right side and then the left, and it’s forcing Ecuador’s defense to communicate well and keep an eye on who’s in front of them.

33rd min: Rodrigo De Paul nutmegs Joao Ortiz before Ortiz fouls De Paul and gives away a penalty kick. Later, Argentina moves forward on a break, the ball ends up at Acuna’s feet and he has space and time but his blast towards goal is well over the bar again.

30th min: A terrible back pass Franco forces Galindez to slide at full stretch and knock the ball out for a corner kick. The ball is cleared away and then Acuna fires a half volley wide.

26th min: Huge save Galindez! It’s the best chance of the game for Argentina as Lisandro Martinez receives the ball in the box, spins and fires towards the far post, eliciting a great diving save from Galindez to keep it scoreless.

25th min: Caicedo pulls down Lo Celso after the Argentine midfielder goes on a long run and Caicedo gets another warning from the referee, Fischer. He could have seen another yellow card on that play.

23rd min: Argentina breaks the Ecuador high press through Lisandro Martinez dribbling forward but the Albiceleste run into trouble in the middle of the park, and Torres eventually clears for Ecuador. La Tricolor look very comfortable sitting back in a 4-3-3 shape.

20th min: Lo Celso with a hard tackle to win the ball back, Di Maria runs at goal and fires a strike but it goes over the bar. Argentina had numbers there but Di Maria perhaps made the wrong decision.

14th min: Argentina struggling to create clear chances without Messi on the field. Di Maria tries to cut inside but he’s dispossessed.

10th min: Paez shows off his skills getting by De Paul before trying to play Caicedo into the box, but Montiel clears it out. Caicedo then picks up a yellow card early in the match for a hard tackle from behind on Lautaro Martinez.

8th min: Tons of Ecuador yellow shirts and Argentina blue jerseys in the crowd at Soldier Field today.

6th min: Ecuador with a couple of attacks down their left wing already, and the second one earns them a free kick after a foul by Lo Celso.

5th min: Veteran MLS and international referee Drew Fischer is the referee for tonight’s matchup.

Kickoff: We’re underway from Soldier Field!

30 mins to kickoff: Messi will have plenty of time to remember this day 12 years ago while he waits for his chance off the bench. In an international friendly match at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina beat Brazil, 4-3.

45 mins to kickoff: Lineup notes for both teams.

Argentina: Scaloni has gone with Lautaro Martinez tonight over Lionel Messi, as well as Lisandro Martinez returning to the starting lineup in place of Nicolas Otamendi. Gonzalo Montiel, hero for Argentina in the World Cup final, having scored the game winning penalty kick, starts again at right back.

Ecuador: The veteran Galindez starts today along with a player 20-years his junior – Kendry Paez. Alan Minda is also another graduate of Independiente del Valle and is in line for his third cap of 2024.





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