Argentina Advances to 2019 Copa America Semifinals with 2-0 Win vs. Venezuela

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: Lautaro Martinez of Argentina celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Argentina and Venezuela at Maracana Stadium on June 28, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images)
Bruna Prado/Getty Images

Argentina is on to the semifinals at the 2019 Copa America after pulling out a 2-0 victory over Venezuela in the quarterfinals Friday at Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Lautaro Martinez led the way for Argentina, opening the scoring with a 10th-minute goal. Giovani Lo Celso added one in the 74th minute, while keeper Franco Armani recorded a clean sheet.

For the second consecutive match, Argentina used an early goal to establish control. And once again, Martinez provided the early boost.

He powered his side to its first victory of the tournament Sunday with a fourth-minute goal against Qatar. He wasn't able to strike as quickly Friday, but he did manage to get on the board before Venezuela had a chance to settle in.

It marked the sixth goal in 10 caps for the 21-year-old.

More importantly for Argentina, though, his goal provided an early lead the team would never surrender. 

Venezuela narrowly held the edge in possession (51-49) during the opening half, but Argentina generated the most offense. Along with the Martinez goal, La Albiceleste managed 11 shots, three of which were on goal, and seven corner kicks during the opening 45-plus minutes. Meanwhile, Venezuela could only muster two shots, with none on target.

And while La Vinotinto struggled to create quality opportunities, it remained a one-goal affair deep into the second half. Ultimately, though, Lo Celso managed to put the game away late, with the help of Venezuela keeper Wuilker Farinez.

Lionel Messi did not find the back of the net, though he did tally three shots.

After going 0-1-1 through its first two matches of the tournament, Argentina has won back-to-back games—each by the score of 2-0—to keep its championship aspirations alive. 


What's Next? 

Argentina will face Brazil in the semifinals Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Of note, Brazil and Venezuela played to a 0-0 draw during group play after Brazil had three goals disallowed.