Paraguay 3-1 Bolivia: La Albirroja rally to victory in Copa America opener

By Sports Desk June 14, 2021

Angel Romero scored twice as Paraguay produced a second-half comeback to claim a 3-1 win over a depleted 10-man Bolivia in their opening game at the Copa America.

La Albirroja were favoured to see off Bolivia, who were without three players – including captain and talisman Marcelo Martins after testing positive for coronavirus.

Bolivia, who have only progressed beyond the Copa America group stage once since finishing runners-up in 1997, took a shock early lead from Erwin Saavedra's 10th-minute penalty on Monday.

Paraguay piled on the pressure for no reward in the first half, before Bolivia were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time following Jaume Cuellar's second booking in Goiania, Goias.

The weight of pressure told in the second half as Alejandro Romero levelled before Paraguay team-mate Angel Romero scored a brace to seal the win.

Paraguay flew out of the blocks as Santiago Arzamendia forced an acrobatic save from Bolivia goalkeeper Ruben Cordano inside the first minute, with Angel Romero flashing wide from the ensuing corner.

But Bolivia took the lead, albeit after a lengthy delay as referee Diego Haro consulted VAR, when Diego Bejarano's goal-bound volley hit Arzamendia's outstretched arm, with Saavedra converting from the spot.

Paraguay thought they had the chance to draw level when Haro pointed to the spot again after Cordano hacked down Gabriel Avalos inside the box, but again, La Albirroja were denied by the VAR after another long delay as Romero was offside in the build-up.

Alejandro Romero inexplicably pushed wide from close range in the 43rd minute, before Bolivia teenager Cuellar saw red for a second bookable offence.

Paraguay kept up the pressure after the break, with Alejandro Romero hitting the woodwork, though he equalised via an excellent 62nd-minute volley from outside the box.

Minutes later Paraguay were ahead, with Cordano unable to hold substitute Carlos Gonzalez's header and Angel Romero swooping to force home the loose ball.

Paraguay keeper Antony Silva had to be alert to a 78th-minute Roberto Fernandez strike, before Angel Romero netted his second, slotting home from Avalos' pass.

Related items

  • Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists

    Tammy Abraham has been joined in the Europa Conference League team of the season by Roma team-mate Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was named the player of the season.

    Roma claimed their first UEFA trophy on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the inaugural Conference League final.

    Nicolo Zaniolo grabbed the decisive goal for the Giallorossi, but his attacking colleagues were preferred in a best XI named on Friday.

    Leading scorer Abraham and captain Pellegrini were among four Roma players recognised, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio and centre-back Chris Smalling also included after inspired performances against Feyenoord.

    Italy midfielder Pellegrini scooped the top individual award, but Feyenoord were also well represented, including young player of the year honours for Luis Sinisterra.

    Sinisterra registered 10 goal involvements (six goals and four assists) throughout the tournament, second only to team-mate and top marksman Cyriel Dessers (11 involvements), whose 10 goals made him the sole man to beat Abraham's tally of nine.

    Both Feyenoord forwards made the cut for the team selection, alongside defenders Lutsharel Geertruida, Gernot Trauner and Tyrell Malacia.

    Dimitri Payet was also included, as well as sealing the goal of the season award for his sweetly struck effort against PAOK in Marseille's quarter-final.

     

    Europa Conference League team of the season: Rui Patricio (Roma); Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Chris Smalling (Roma), Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord); Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester City), Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord), Tammy Abraham (Roma).

  • 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay

    Kylian Mbappe is already the best player in France and can continue to make history after signing his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, according to Ronaldinho.

    Last week, Mbappe agreed a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 champions, rejecting Real Madrid's public advances in a huge transfer blow to the Champions League finalists.

    The World Cup-winning forward scored 39 goals and added 21 assists during a remarkable individual season with PSG, as Mauricio Pochettino's team secured a10th league title in the club's history.

    The 23-year-old is already the second-highest Ligue 1 goalscorer in PSG history, scoring 171 goals in 217 league outings for the Parisian giants – only Edinson Cavani (200 goals in 301 games) has more.

    Former PSG star Ronaldinho, who scored 25 goals in two seasons with the club before departing for Barcelona in 2003, says Mbappe is already out-shining team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

    However, Ronaldinho also insisted PSG would have been able to cope had the France star left for Madrid, highlighting the quality of his team-mates.

    "Right now, of the future... he's a player that could be part of history," he told Mail Online. "He deserves all the respect he's getting. He is making history and can continue to create happiness for us in this game.

    "Today he is the best player for PSG. If he left to go anywhere else, it would only be to have the chance to be the best player in another country. He's already the best in France.

    "Paris Saint-Germain has some of the best players in the world right now – Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos. 

    "Some of the best players in the world are in this team. So, if one of the best players in the world leaves, other top players will continue in their place."

     

    Meanwhile, Ronaldinho's former Barcelona team-mate Messi endured a mixed first season in France, recording 11 goals and 14 assists in all competitions but being jeered by his own fans in the aftermath of March's Champions League defeat to Madrid.

    However, Ronaldinho insists the Argentine is happy in Paris, highlighting his 2021 Ballon d'Or win as evidence of his continued quality.

    The former Camp Nou star also insists Barcelona will recover from Messi's departure and return to the top of the game under Xavi's management, backing the Blaugrana boss to create another "beautiful" team.

    'If my friend is happy, it's the right decision, and I believe he is very happy," Ronaldinho said of Messi. "He is going through a period of adapting, but he's already been voted the best player in the world.

    "People said they were surprised when I left Barcelona and when Messi left. But Barcelona continues to be Barcelona. 

    "Things change in football, naturally. Now the club's hierarchy needs to bring in new players with talent to continue being successful.

    "They already have a great coach who has a foundation in the history of the club. So, the club can begin it's rebuild with this manager to create a beautiful team. They need to now give the manager the opportunity to build a great team.

    "It won't be easy. They need a bit more time to build a side that is based around the best players. But I think players are happy to be playing for one of the best teams in the world."

  • Braaf follows Sancho path by leaving Man City for Dortmund Braaf follows Sancho path by leaving Man City for Dortmund

    Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Manchester City youngster Jayden Braaf on a free transfer as the Bundesliga side's recruitment drive continues.

    Braaf announced on Thursday that he would leave City, where he was offered limited first-team chances after joining from the PSV youth academy in 2018.

    The 19-year-old was previously linked to a move to Dortmund in 2020 but ended up joining Udinese on loan, scoring once in four appearances before a knee ligament injury ruled him out for a year.

    Dortmund confirmed on Friday that they have captured the promising winger on a three-year deal, Braaf following in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, who traded City for the Bundesliga side.

    Braaf's arrival marks another new addition for Dortmund, who signed Karim Adeyemi to help replace the City-bound Erling Haaland, while also bringing in Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck and Salih Ozcan.

    "Jayden, whose development we have been following closely for years, has shown in the past that he can be a difference player with his pace and talent," soon-to-be sporting director Sebastian Kehl said.

    "After more than a year out through injury, he will certainly need time to regain his former strength and fully establish himself in men's football. 

    "We want to give him this time and gently introduce him. If Jayden masters the phase ahead of him and stays clear, we have a great talent on board in him."

    Dortmund, who appointed Edin Terzic as Marco Rose's successor for the next term, have also signed Alexander Meyer on a two-year contract from 2. Bundesliga side SSV Jahn Regensburg on a free transfer.

    Meyer is expected to be the second-choice goalkeeper behind Gregor Kobel following the departures of Marwin Hitz and Roman Burki.

    "Alexander Meyer convinced us both in terms of sport and personality. In him, we get a very experienced goalkeeper who exudes calmness and has shown in recent years as a regular keeper in Regensburg that he has high quality," Kehl said. 

    "He was undoubtedly one of the strongest goalkeepers in the 2nd Bundesliga in recent years.

    Meyer added: "When a club like BVB calls, I don't have to think twice. From a sporting point of view, they're an absolute top team, and there's no need to talk about the atmosphere in the stadium. 

    "Just thinking about the Yellow Wall gives me goosebumps. I'm really looking forward to the new task and also to being part of the BVB family."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.