Argentina completely dominated Paraguay from start to finish, both with and without Lionel Messi, and picked up three points in the process, although it was a bit more nervy than they would have liked at the end.
With Argentina pummeling their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying opponents in Buenos Aires from the opening whistle, Nicolas Otamendi’s fourth-minute goal seemed to foreshadow a coming onslaught. Yet that was all Argentina would get, and while it was enough for a 1-0 victory, they could have had many, many more
Lionel Messi came off the bench shortly after halftime, but even he was powerless to change the narrative, hitting the post twice including once directly off a corner.
Lautaro Martinez, Rodrigo de Paul, and Nico Gonzalez were all very active in the final third and had multiple chances, but none were able to find the all-important second goal to kill off the match. Yet in the end, Emiliano Martinez had himself another clean sheet as Paraguay failed to produce more than a single quality attacking chance.
The shutout gave Dibu an Argentine national team record, passing 609 minutes without conceding a goal, as Argentina have not been breached since Kylian Mbappe’s dramatic 118th minute equalizer in the 2022 World Cup final. Additionally, Lionel Scaloni has still never been beaten in World Cup qualifying as Argentina head coach.