Brighton supporters will rightly be getting excited about their incoming signing after Alexis Mac Allister once again took centre stage to fire Argentina under-23s to victory over Uruguay in the first game of the final round at the Pre-Olympic tournament.
Having confirmed this week that Mac Allister’s loan with Boca Juniors would be cut short to enable the midfielder to complete the switch to Brighton this month, the 21-year-old produced another sensational match winning performance.
With two goals to his name in the first round, Mac Allister notched his third of the tournament after 17 minutes, whipping a free-kick from out on the left inside Ignacio de Arruabarrena’s near post with the goalkeeper expecting a cross into the middle.
De Arruabarrena was beaten again from distance before the break and on this occasion it was Mac Allister’s former Argentinos Juniors teammate Fausto Vera. Fernando Batista’s favoured holding midfielder showed superb technique to send a skidding volley through a crowded penalty area and into the bottom corner as Argentina cruised into the break.
And it got even better after the restart, Adolfo Gaich held up the ball, shrugged off Mathías Laborda and fed Mac Allister who fired into the top corner from 25 yards for the pick of the goals.
Only the post denied Mac Allister a hat-trick with another shot from range but just as it looked as though Argentina would stroll to victory, Uruguay stirred.
A long ball downfield caught Argentina napping and half time substitute Juan Ramírez walked in the simplest of goals as both sides exchanged missed chances.
In stoppage time a superb looping header by Matías Arezo reduced the deficit further but there wasn’t enough time and Argentina held on for three important points.
Colombia are up next for the Albiceleste on Thursday, knowing that a win would all but book a place at the Tokyo Olympics.
Argentina XI: Facundo Cambeses; Hernán De La Fuente, Nehuén Pérez, Facundo Medina, Claudio Bravo; Fausto Vera, Nicolás Capaldo; Julián Álvarez, Alexis Mac Allister (Matías Zaracho 90′), Agustín Urzi (Tomás Belmonte 80′); Adolfo Gaich (Valentín Castellanos 84′)
Uruguay XI: Ignacio de Arruabarrena; José Luis Rodríguez, Emanuel Gularte, Mathías Laborda, Agustín Oliveros; Manuel Ugarte, Facundo Waller (Juan Ramírez 45′); Francisco Ginella (Joaquín Piquerez 80′), Juan Manuel Sanabria, Santiago Rodríguez; Federico Viñas (Matías Arezo 83′)