The first round of games in the Copa America are done and dusted. The host nation Chile started off with a win over Ecuador, but Lionel Messi and Argentina failed to grab three points against Paraguay despite a 2-0 lead.
In Group A, Chile got a great start as the hosts grabbed a 2-0 win over Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos in Santiago Thurday. After a scoreless first half, Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal gave the home side the lead in the 67th minute from the penalty spot. Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez went the right way, but Vidal’s penalty was perfectly placed and with such pace that it was impossible to save. Substitute Eduardo Vargas scored Chile’s second goal in the 84th minute.
In the other game in the group, Mexico and Bolivia played a scoreless draw at the Estadio Sausalito in Viña del Mar Friday. Mexico created several chances, but both teams struggled to get shots on net.
Standings Group A:
- Chile 3pts
- Bolivia 1pts
- Mexico 1pts
- Ecuador 0pts
Uruguay beat Jamaica 1-0 in the first game in Group B Saturday. Cristian Rodriguez scored the lone goal of the game at the Estadio Regional Calvo y Bascuñán in Antofagasta. The Atletico Madrid winger was on his toes in the penalty box in the 52nd minute after a free-kick that was headed down by Jose Gimenez. Rodriguez pounced on the ball and with composure put it in the back of the net. Extremely important win for Uruguay, especially as Argentina drew with Paraguay.
Argentina got off to a great start against Paraguay, at the Estadio La Portada de La Serena in La Serena on Saturday as Sergio Aguero snapped up a poor pass by Paraguay in their own half and took the ball and rounded Antony Silva in the Paraguayan net. Lionel Messi was trying to bring the ball upfield and was surrounded by three Paraguay players, and he kept pushing after losing the ball and forced the poor backpass.
Messi then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 36th minute and it looked like Argentina was in cruise control and that the three points were in the bag. But Paraguay cam back in the second half, despite heavy possession advantage for Argentina. Nelson Valdez put Paraguay on the scoreboard in the 60th minute with blast a couple of yards outside the penalty box, and Lucas Barrios tied the game at 2-2 in the 90th minute after pouncing on a ball inside the penalty box.
Standings Group B:
- Uruguay 3pts
- Argentina 1pts
- Paraguay 1pts
- Jamaica 0pts
In Group C, Venezuela stood for the first big upset as they grabbed a 1-0 win over Colombia at the Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua Sunday. After a scoreless first half, Salomon Rondon headed in the only goal of the game in the 60th minute after a header pass by Alejandro Guerra inside the penalty box. Colombia had several good opportunities to tie the game in the latter part of the game, but Alain Baroja stood for a couple of fantastic saves.
Peru pressed Brazil in the last game of Matchday 1 at the Estadio Municipal Bicentenario Germán Becker in Temuco Sunday. Peru shocked everyone as they took the lead in the 3rd minute after a blast by Christian Cueva inside the penalty after Brazil’s goalkeeper Jefferson made a poor clearance and the ball went straight to Cueva’s feet. Order was restored just two minutes later when superstar striker Neymar tied it up with a header after a beautiful cross by Dani Alves. Neymar lost his marker inside the penalty area and was able to go up unchallenged.
It wasn’t until two minute into added time that Brazil broke the deadlock with a goal by Douglas Costa. Neymar put a perfect ball into the penalty area where Costa was lurking unmarked and could slot it home for the win.
Standings Group C:
- Brazil 3pts
- Venezuela 3pts
- Peru 0pts
- Colombia 0pts