Messi Stays, Starts & Scores As Argentina Beat Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast 1-2 Argentina

Lionel Messi guided Argentina to a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Ivory Coast in their Olympic Games opener in Shanghai...

Argentina started strongly and dominated their opponents early on, but they needed to be extremely cautious of the Ivory Coast, who constantly broke on dangerous counterattacks down both sets of flanks.

The heavily favoured Argentines and defending Olympic champions proved superior to the Africans, but although they pushed forward in numbers searching for an early opener they were kept out by the resilient Ivory Coast defense.

In the 32nd minute Lionel Messi set up Ezequiel Lavezzi inside of the area, but the Napoli striker shot weakly when he had the goal at his mercy.

Sergio Batista's side kept at the attack, and two minutes before half time they were rewarded for their persistence.

The always influential Juan Roman Riquelme found Messi with a brilliant through ball and the Barcelona striker beat Ivory Coast goalkeeper Vincent Angban with a clinical finish to put Argentina ahead.

After the break the Ivory Coast lifted their game, and tried to damage Argentina down the flanks with the speed and determination of their attacking players. They threatened the Argentina goal with menacing runs time and time again.

In the 52nd minute their effort paid off, as Sekou Cisse drew them level when he connected to an inch-perfect cross from the right wing with an extraordinary header that looped over a hapless Oscar Ustari.

But Argentina didn't let this affect them, and continued to press. In the 64th minute Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero found the back of the net, however, his effort was disallowed for a clear offside infringement.

Minutes later the Ivory Coast had their own chance to go ahead, when team captain Gervinho saw his close range effort flash wide of Ustari's left post.

Both sides went looking for a late winner, but it seemed that both would have to settle for a share of the points. However, Argentina were no satisfied with a draw and charged forward in a final attempt to win the match.

Four minutes before full time Riquelme and Messi combined after a quick free-kick and the Barcelona striker had a powerful effort blocked by the Ivory Coast goalkeeper, however, substitute Lautaro Acosta was in the right place at the right time to slide in the eventual match winner at the back post.

Team Line-ups

Ivory Coast: Vincent Angban, Serge Wawa, Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba, Brou Angoua, Mamadou Bagayoko, Herve Kambou, Kafoumba Coulibaly, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, Antoine N'Gossan (Franck Dja Djedje 63'), Sekou Cisse (Anthony Moura-Komenan 73')

Argentina: Oscar Ustari, Ezequiel Garay, Luciano Monzon, Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Pareja, Gago, Juan Roman Riquelme, Mascherano, Ezequiel Lavezzi (Angel Di Maria 62'), Lionel Messi (Jose Sosa 90'), Sergio Aguero (Lautaro Acosta 79')

Goals: 1-0, Messi (43'), 1-1 Cisse (53'), 2-1 Acosta (85')

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

Yellow Cards: Kalou (45'), Kambou (58'), Aguero (61'), Riquelme (44')

Venue: Shanghai Stadium. Att: 57,000

Lionel Messi gave Argentina the lead just before the break with an excellent goal. Ivory Coast put up a great fight with a goal from Cisse too. It was Acosta who sealed the game with victory to Argentina in the 86th minute.

43′ 1-0 Lionel Messi

53′ 1-1 Sekou Cisse

86′ 2-1 Acosta

Part 1

Part 2

Messi Stays, Starts & Scores As Argentina Beat Ivory Coast Reviewed by admin Ucop on 11:25 PM Rating: 5

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