Lionel Messi may be the greatest footballer in the world, but it was Miguel Almiron who produced the moment of magic in last night’s Copa America clash between Argentina and Paraguay.
The Toon’s record signing is in scintillating form for his country and played a pivotal role in their shock 1-1 draw with two-time World Cup winners Argentina.
The Group B clash was a mostly unengaging affair, but there was one piece of brilliance from Almiron which stood out.
The Magpies maestro provided an assist in Paraguay’s opening match of the tournament against Qatar and he didn’t take long to record another one against Messi and co.
In the first half, the midfielder ran almost the length of the pitch, evading several defenders before dispatching a perfect cross for Richard Sanchez to score:
🔥😲Almirón's pace is RIDICULOUS!
— Watch Copa América 2019 live on Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) June 20, 2019
Almiron’s phenomenal speed is well known to Newcastle fans, but it seemed to take Argentina by complete surprise on this occasion.
He was a handful for the majority of the game, and his dribbling exploits continued in the second half:
Almiron running Argentina ragged in the second half. pic.twitter.com/6r8qwt0ccs
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) June 20, 2019
But for all those Toon fans who’d been dreaming of an upset, it was unfortunately not meant to be for Paraguay.
Argentina equalised quickly in the second half, Messi scoring from the spot after a penalty was controversially awarded for a handball by VAR.
Paraguay had the chance to re-take the lead with a penalty of their own not long after when Derlis Gonzalez was fouled in the box by Nicolas Otamendi.
But Gonzalez could not replicate Messi’s nerves of steel, and his weak spot kick was easily saved.
The game never recovered and Almiron was denied a chance to make another impact after being substituted in the 86th minute.
Although a fantastic result for Paraguay on the face of it, Argentina have looked woeful in the tournament and Paraguay will be disappointed to have lost another potential three points.
They currently sit in second in Group B with two points and will qualify for the knockout stages if they can remain there.
Their final group opponents are Colombia, who beat both Qatar and Argentina earlier this week.
But with Almiron in fine form, hopefully Paraguay can secure their first win of the tournament and guarantee their place in the knockouts.