LA SERENA: Sergio Aguero got Argentina’s Copa America campaign back on track Tuesday, scoring the only goal as the tournament favourites battled to a 1-0 victory over historic rivals Uruguay.
Aguero bagged his second goal of the tournament with a typically brave diving header in the 56th minute after a niggly battle between the 1930 World Cup finalists in their 199th meeting.
The result leaves Argentina firmly on course to win Group B, with only one game against tournament minnows Jamaica, beaten 1-0 by Paraguay in Tuesday’s early game, remaining.
Uruguay’s defeat means the 2011 champions must now beat the Paraguayans in their final match to be certain of clinching a place in the last eight, although they could still reach the knockout rounds as one of the best third placed teams.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who had expressed his fury after the Albiceleste surrendered a 2-0 lead in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Paraguay, praised his team-mates for keeping their cool in an often spiteful encounter.
“It was a tough match from their side. They didn’t want to play that much,” said Messi, who was subjected to a series of cynical fouls throughout.
“They were tough. They were hard on us. But we showed that we can also play that kind of game if we need to.
“Yet we tried to keep playing our game and that’s how we found the goal through Kun (Aguero).”
In Tuesday’s other game, Paraguay edged closer to the last eight with a 1-0 win over Jamaica.
A freak goal from Edgar Benitez proved the difference, the striker unwittingly deflecting a hapless headed clearance by Jamaica goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr into an empty net on 36 minutes.
The win means Paraguay need only a draw against Uruguay to be sure of finishing second in the Group.