Football Predictions

Argentina 2-2 Uruguay: Messi and Cavani on target as rivals draw in Israel

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:50, 18 November 2019

There was no separating Argentina and Uruguay as one of international football’s biggest rivalries took to Israel on Monday.

It was the 198th meeting between the two sides who contested the very first Fifa World Cup final in 1930. Uruguay were the winners that day but Argentina have opened a significant gap in the head-to-head, leading 89-61 as things stand.

However, they did fall behind in Tel Aviv has Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay a first-half lead. Sergio Aguero pulled Argentina level just after the hour-mark but Luis Suarez restored Uruguay’s advantage moments later.

It was an advantage Uruguay looked set to be holding onto until Martin Caceres handled in the area, giving Argentina a penalty. Lionel Messi stepped up and scored from the spot, enduring Argentina remain unbeaten in their past four games against Uruguay.

But what do you need to know about the game?

Key men

Argentina: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi returned to international football last week, scoring the winner in Argentina’s clash with bitter rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia. And he was in the mood to deal more damage to opponents on Monday evening.

When Argentina went behind, Messi was the one to inspire the comeback, sending in a delicate free-kick for Sergio Aguero to score from – showing the pair’s good understanding. Messi was the man to rescue Argentina again when they looked on the brink of losing to Uruguay, having the calmness to convert from the spot in injury time.

It was his 70th goal for Argentina in 138 games and showed just why he is still so important for the nation having missed three months through suspension.

Key stat: Only Pele (77) has scored more international goals for a South American national team than Messi (69).

Uruguay: Edinson Cavani

While Messi edges closer to a South American record, Uruguayan striker Cavani was reaching a personal milestone.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward went into the game on 49 goals for Uruguay and would have undoubtedly dreamed of getting number 50 against his country’s bitter rivals.

It took just 34 minutes for that to happen, as Cavani lunged in on Suarez’s ball cross the box, losing his marker and staying onside. In a time where Cavani’s club future is currently being questioned amid a lack of playing time for PSG, this was a strong moment for the Uruguayan to remind everyone of his abilities.

Key stat: Edinson Cavani is only the second player to score 50 goals for the Uruguayan national team, after Luis Suarez.

Line ups

Argentina

After sitting out of the 1-0 win over Brazil, both Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala started in Tel Aviv, joining Lionel Messi in attack.

They were two of four changes from the victory against Brazil with Renzo Saravia and Marcos Acuna also coming in for Juan Foyth and Lucas Ocampos, the latter of whom pulled out through injury.

Starting XI: Andrada; Saravia, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Acuna; Messi, Dybala, Aguero.

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Uruguay

Uruguay also made four changes from their 2-1 friendly win over Hungary last week, with Martin Caceres replacing Giovanni Gonzalez at right-back. There were also starts for Lucas Torreira, Martin Campana and Matias Vecino.

Starting XI: Campana; Caceres, Coates, Godin, Viña; Vecino, Torreira, Valverde, Lozano; Cavani, Suárez.