Argentina’s unbeaten streak since their World Cup victory came to an end as they faced a resilient Uruguay in a World Cup qualifying match at La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires. In what became their first competitive loss since the initial group-stage match against Saudi Arabia in the previous year’s World Cup in Qatar, Uruguay emerged victorious with a 2-0 win, marking one of their most significant triumphs under the guidance of new coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Uruguay’s aggressive approach from the onset proved challenging for the reigning World Cup champions. Darwin Núnez threatened to open the scoring early in the 10th minute, capitalizing on a defensive error by Nicolás Otamendi.
The match saw a visibly unsettled Lionel Scaloni, the coach of Argentina, as his midfielders struggled to contain Uruguay’s wingers. This disarray culminated in a goal for Uruguay in the 42nd minute when Matias Viña capitalized on a defensive lapse by Nahuel Molina, delivering a precise low cross into the penalty area for Ronald Araújo to slot home.
Despite Argentina’s attempts to level the score, with Lionel Messi’s free-kick and Otamendi’s close-range effort testing goalkeeper Sergio Rochet, Uruguay maintained their lead. In the second half, Messi and substitute Angel di Maria led Argentina’s attempts at a comeback, but the former struck the crossbar with a free-kick in the 57th minute.
Uruguay sealed their victory with Núnez scoring on the counterattack in the 87th minute, following a thwarted attempt by Messi at the edge of Uruguay’s box.
Reflecting on the match, Messi acknowledged Uruguay’s physical prowess and cohesive teamwork, stating, “We never felt comfortable in this match. Uruguay is a physical team, they have good teamwork. It is always like that against them.”
Interestingly, Messi’s close friend and Uruguayan star, Luis Suárez, who recently rejoined the national team, did not feature in the game. Uruguay’s victory against Brazil in the previous round and their upcoming match against Bolivia indicate their growing momentum in the World Cup qualifiers.