DOHA, QATAR - Saturday, November 26, 2022: Argentina's Alexis Mac Allister during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium. Argentina won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexis Mac Allister escapes injury after nasty collision – brave assist for Argentina

Argentina kicked off Copa America with a 2-0 victory over Canada, with Alexis Mac Allister fortunate to escape injury as he provided an assist.

Copa America began on Thursday night with the hosts not in action, with Argentina vs. Canada instead the opening game for a tournament held in the United States.

It saw Liverpool’s first of four players in action, with Mac Allister starting in midfield with Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul as Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria supported Lionel Messi in attack.

Argentina started the game sluggishly, forced to defend with a number of vital blocks as Canada’s left-hand side of Alphonso Davies and ex-Reds winger Liam Millar threatened.

Mac Allister came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half, ghosting into the box to meet De Paul’s cross only to see his header collected.

He then played a crucial role in the opener four minutes after the restart, racing onto Messi’s through ball and touching it across for Alvarez to sweep home.

In claiming the assist, though, the 25-year-old was brought down by a nasty challenge from Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, leaving him in pain on the turf as his team-mates celebrated.

Luckily, Mac Allister escaped injury and was able to play the full 90 minutes, with Crepeau perhaps fortunate the move ended in a goal conceded rather than a red card shown.

It remained a bitty game despite Argentina taking the lead, with Messi twice failing to convert with one-on-ones on the counter.

The clincher eventually came in the 88th minute, with Messi threading Lautaro Martinez through for a well-taken finish and a 2-0 win.

Argentina’s next game is against Chile on Tuesday night, before rounding off Group A against Peru late next Saturday.

2M208Y7 Doha, Qatar, 13th December 2022. Alexis Mac Allister of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup 2022 match at Lusail Stadium, Doha. Picture credit should read: David Klein / Sportimage

TyC Sports‘ Gaston Recondo rated Mac Allister’s performance a six out of 10, explaining that it “took him a long time to get into the game,” adding that “first he was showy and then effective.”

Hernan Claus of Ole gave him a seven out of 10, noting his “key participation” in the opener and praising him as “critical in passing.”

The Liverpool midfielder was heavily involved throughout, with Messi (12) the only player to contest more duels for Argentina than his 11 – of which he won six – while only goalkeeper Emi Martinez (eight) made more recoveries (seven).

Per FotMob, Mac Allister also created the third-most chances for Argentina, with two, and the joint-third most touches in the opposition’s box, with four.