Argentina v Uruguay player ratings: New faces & new system but La Albiceleste still rely on captain Messi

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It may not have been the beginning of a new, exciting era in Argentine football but La Albiceleste took a point from a difficult trip away to Uruguay and still hold their World Cup qualification in their own hands. Jorge Sampaoli’s ideas will need a little longer to yield results as the same issues of creativity and reliance on Lionel Messi were evident but here are Golazo Argentino’s player ratings.

Sergio Romero – 6.5

Despite failing to hold Cebolla Rodríguez’s fierce volley, Sergio Romero produced an outstanding stop to deny Edinson Cavani from the rebound in what was an otherwise fairly quiet evening despite Uruguay threatening.

Gabriel Mercado – 5.5

After a difficult opening with Luis Suárez running in behind, Gabriel Mercado gradually improved as the game went on. Always committed and physical, a second half yellow card will see the Sevilla defender out of Tuesday’s clash with Venezuela.

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Federico Fazio – 6

A mixed evening for Federico Fazio, who provided the aerial dominance that Jorge Sampaoli demanded but was caught on the ball by Edinson Cavani and almost allowed Luis Suárez to open the scoring.

Nicolás Otamendi – 6.5

Probably the pick of Sampaoli’s new-look back three with a typically powerful display. Strong in the tackle and in the air, Nicolás Otamendi battled with Cavani and Suárez all evening and was given a hefty studs up challenge by the Barcelona forward late on.

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Marcos Acuña – 4.5

After being involved early on, Marcos Acuña quickly drifted out of the game and failed to make any impact on the right side of midfield. Clearly out of position, El Huevo was unable to beat Gastón Silva on the outside and produce quality into the penalty box with his far weaker right foot.

Lucas Biglia – 6

Another solid display in an Argentina shirt by Lucas Biglia, the AC Milan midfielder carried out his defensive duties well and protected the back four but was unadventurous in his passing, adding to La Albiceleste’s slow build-up.

Guido Pizarro – 6

Much like Biglia, Guido Pizarro provided security in the midfield with his physical presence but despite trying to move the ball forward and link with Lionel Messi, the 27-year-old failed to add to Argentina’s offensive threat.

Ángel Di María – 4

Another frustrating evening for Ángel Di María, who failed to add the threat down the left as Jorge Sampaoli would have liked. A number of poor crosses that passed harmlessly across the Uruguayan goal gave Mauro Icardi nothing to attack.

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Lionel Messi – 7.5

If Argentina were going to win the match it would have been thanks to Lionel Messi, who was denied by Fernando Muslera in both halves. Dropping deep to get on the ball, the Albiceleste captain was the source of all creativity and any half chances came courtesy of the Barcelona star’s range of passing.

Paulo Dybala – 5

A frustrating evening for Paulo Dybala, who apart from a neat one-two with Messi in the first half failed to make an impact on the game before being replaced by Javier Pastore.

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Mauro Icardi – 5

As Jorge Sampaoli noted after the game, Mauro Icardi was marked by two defenders the entire game and as such found it very difficult to make any impression. One half chance from a tight angle and a penalty claim was about all the Inter captain had to look back on. After waiting four years for his chance, Icardi needs more time in Sampaoli’s team.

Substitutes

Lautaro Acosta – 5

Immediately provided a more natural right-win option after replacing Marcos Acuña but when Uruguay retreated deeper into their own half, Acosta found it more difficult to get involved.

Javier Pastore – Replaced Paulo Dybala but failed to make any impression at a time when Uruguay were content to put bodies behind the ball and see out the draw.

Joaquin Correa – Given only minutes after replacing Ángel Di María, there was no time for Correa to do anything.

 

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