Angel Romero scored his third goal in three games when he coolly rolled home a penalty mid-first half after Lucas Martinez Quarta condemned Miguel Almiron’s fall.
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Nicolas Gonzalez equalized for Argentina four minutes before half-time when he headed home from a Giovani Lo Celso corner.
Lionel Messi scored what appeared to be the first goal in the 57th minute, but the referee completed it after consulting VAR.
VAR eliminated the Argentine goal due to a foul by Gonzalez on Romero that came more than 50 meters from the goal. Following the foul, Argentina built up a high-touching game on their back that ended with a Messi strike from the box before it was knocked over.
At the other end, Paraguay had a loud call for a rejected penalty kick after the ball hit the arm of center-back Nicolas Otamendi, who complained of Argentina’s luck after the game.
“I think we felt a little uncomfortable with the pressure in the first half, but when we managed to pass the ball and find space we spent most of the second period in half the field,” said Otamendi . “We reached the goal, but unfortunately it wasn’t.”
The result leaves both South American teams unbeaten after three games to reach the final in Qatar.
The first four in the South American qualification with 10 teams automatically reach the final, and the fifth-placed team goes to an interregional play-off.
Argentina’s next game will be in Peru on Tuesday, while Paraguay will face Bolivia at home on the same day.
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