Lionel Messi equalled Javier Mascherano’s record of 147 caps for Argentina on Monday night as he starred in his side’s 1-0 win over Paraguay, booking their place in the Copa America knockout rounds.
Papu Gomez’s tenth-minute strike was enough to earn the three points for Lionel Scaloni’s side as they maintained their unbeaten record.
Messi had a key part to play in the build-up to the game’s only goal (obviously), as he wriggled away from a challenge in midfield before feeding Angel Di Maria. The Paris Saint-Germain forward then slipped the ball through to Gomez who produced a clever dink over Antony Silva to hand his side the lead.
Elsewhere in Group A, Chile also booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 1-1 draw against Uruguay.
Eduardo Vargas handed Chile the lead thanks in no small part to Blackburn midfielder Ben Brereton, who continued to shine at the tournament as he outfoxed Diego Godin to lay the ball off to Vargas before the forward smashed home.
Uruguay dominated the remainder of the game and they were eventually rewarded with an equaliser as Inter’s Arturo Vidal sliced the ball into the back of his own net under pressure from Luis Suarez.
Over in Group B, Peru grabbed their first points of the competition with a 2-1 win against Colombia. Sergio Peña fired his side into the lead before Colombia’s Miguel Borja restored parity from the penalty spot, though the Peruvians weren’t to be denied and Everton man Yerry Mina’s second-half own goal handed Peru a 2-1 win.
Matchday three’s other game saw Venezuela play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Ecuador. Ayrton Preciado put Ecuador ahead with a close-range finish before Venezuela equalised courtesy of Edson Castillo’s bullet header.
Gonzalo Plata finished off a rapid Ecuador break to seemingly hand his side the three points in the second half, though once again Venezuela hit back and in the 91st minute Ronald Hernandez’s brilliant header rescued a late point for his side.