Despite both Argentina and Uruguay meeting off the back of respective goalless draws, the two South American rivals’ 198th clash in history wasted no time in sparking into life. Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez had to be alert early on, as he made a superb double save, first beating away Luis Suárez’s commanding shot with just one hand and then saving the rebound.
Neither side compromised in the first half, but through the ageless Lionel Messi, Argentina have a constant competitive edge, and the PSG man duly bagged his 80th international goal late in the first half, via a ferocious long range shot that none of the Uruguayan defenders could reach in time. Argentina then doubled their lead just minutes later, when Rodrigo De Paul’s relentless run past the opposition saw him score with a sweet strike.
Messi continued to torment the Uruguay backline after HT, but found several key passes cut out at the last moment. Of the hapless visitors, Darwin Núñez did most to try and halt Argentina’s relentless march to victory, but his effort from the edge of the box only found Row Z. On the 62-minute mark, Lautaro Martínez put the result beyond all doubt, turning the ball in from close range after a beautiful pass from De Paul.
At 3-0 there was nothing left but time, and Argentina were ultimately well worth their 24th straight unbeaten game. The result also leaves Uruguay precariously close to falling out of the top four, with Colombia’s earlier draw against runaway leaders Brazil closing the gap between fourth and fifth to just a solitary point with seven games remaining.