Copa America: Argentina defeats Bolivia 4-1, with Messi scoring twice

On Monday, Lionel Messi overtook Javier Mascherano as Argentina’s most capped international, scoring twice in a 4-1 win over Bolivia to book a Copa America quarter-final against Ecuador.

On his 148th appearance for Argentina, Messi was in terrific form, and it was his brilliant ball that set up Alejandro Gomez to volley home the game’s opening goal after only five minutes. Just after the half-hour mark, Messi increased Barcelona’s advantage from the penalty spot, and just before halftime, he made it 3-0 when he sprinted on to a through pass from Sergio Aguero and lobbed Carlos Lampe.

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Bolivia, who had lost their previous 11 Copa America matches, made things even more difficult for themselves by giving up possession in their own half on numerous occasions. After the break, they improved and startled Argentina on the hour when Erwin Saavedra stroked home a right-wing cross to make it 3-1.

Within five minutes, Argentina’s three-goal lead was regained when substitute Lautaro Martinez replaced Sergio Aguero and maintained Argentina’s three-goal lead. Messi’s goals were his 74th and 75th for Argentina, and it could have been even more if Lampe, the Bolivian goalkeeper, hadn’t put in another outstanding effort.

Argentina’s unbeaten streak now stands at 17 games, going way back to the last Copa America, when they were ousted in the semi-finals by Brazil. Argentina will play Ecuador in the final eight on Saturday, while Uruguay, who defeated Paraguay 1-0, will face Colombia on the same day.

Host Brazil will face Chile on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, while Paraguay will face Peru on the same day.