Thu, 21 Oct 2021

BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo de Paul scored one goal and set up another as Argentina edged closer to securing a place at next year's FIFA World Cup with a 3-0 home win over Uruguay on Sunday.

Lionel Messi gave the hosts the lead with a chipped effort that appeared to be an intended pass for the onrushing Nicolas Gonzalez. The Fiorentina forward failed to make contact with his outstretched left leg but succeeded in wrong-footing Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera as the ball rolled into the far corner.

De Paul doubled the lead just before halftime, pouncing on a loose ball to lash home from 10 yards after Lautaro Martinez fluffed an attempt to latch onto Messi's defense-splitting pass.

Despite having little possession, Uruguay were unlucky not to score as Luis Suarez was twice denied by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and also saw a close-range effort rebound off the post.

Argentina continued to dominate after the interval, making it 3-0 when Martinez tapped in at the far post after De Paul's low cross from the left flank.

Uruguay rarely threatened the Albiceleste defense in the second half and looked rudderless in the absence of suspended midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and injured playmaker Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

The result at El Monumental in Buenos Aires leaves Argentina with 22 points from 10 matches, six points behind leaders Brazil. Uruguay remain fourth with 16 points from 11 outings.

In other South American World Cup qualifiers on Sunday, Bolivia beat Peru 1-0 in La Paz, Venezuela overcame Ecuador 2-1 in Caracas, Colombia and Brazil drew 0-0 in Barranquilla and Chile defeated Paraguay 2-0 in Asuncion.

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