FC Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both scored for their respective countries as Argentina and Uruguay drew their friendly game 2-2. The South American rivals locked horns in Tel Aviv last night.
Edinson Cavani helped Uruguay take the lead in the 34th minute. At half-time, the scorecard read 1-0 in favour of Uruguay. Argentina had to wait until the 63rd minute, when Sergio Aguero scored the equaliser. Five minutes later, Suarez scored his side's second goal, courtesy of an excellent set-piece that the Argentina goalkeeper, Esteban Andrada, could only palm into the top corner.
Until the end of regulation time, it seemed Uruguay will finish as winners. But in the 92nd minute, they conceded a penalty. Messi didn't miss the opportunity to score his 70th goal.
Argentina had possession of the ball 66% of the time. Stats reveal that they passed the ball almost twice as much as Uruguay. Although Argentina looked convincing during the first half of the match, it was Uruguay's excellent execution that helped them take the lead twice.
Suarez' side was successful in generating repetitive counter-attacks while Argentina looked highly dependent on Messi. Oscar Tabarez' man-marking skills ensured that the Argentine icon stayed silent on-field. The Uruguay manager's plan was somewhat successful, although the number 10 contributed in both of Argentina's goals.
First, Messi's free-kick was beautifully netted by Manchester City's Aguero. Then, he scored his side's second from the spot at a moment when fear of defeat was hovering over the Argentine camp.
The crowd in Tel Aviv kept on cheering Messi's name. The Argentine had his moments during the game. At one point, he was surrounded by four defenders and yet he was able to dribble past them.
Just three days before yesterday's match, Messi missed from 12 yards against Brazil. But last night, he made no mistake. Messi coolly side-footed the ball from the spot and helped his side secure a well-deserved draw.
After the Copa America heartbreak, Argentina is now unbeaten for 6 consecutive matches. This match marked the last game for both sides before they begin their FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign in March next year. Messi and Suarez will now join forces in Barcelona as the defending La Liga champions take on Leganes on Saturday.