Papu Gómez scored in the 10th minute as Argentina beat Paraguay 1-0 on Monday and secured its place in the Copa America knockout stage.
The result at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia moved Argentina atop Group A with seven points from three matches. The game also gave Lionel Messi a record 147th cap for the national team, equalling the mark of retired defender Javier Mascherano.
Captain Messi, seeking his first major title with the national team, had to work with a team impacted by six changes in the starting lineup.
Defenders Germán Pezzella and Nicolás Tagliafico, midfielders Rodrigo de Paul and Leandro Paredes; and forwards Sergio Aguero and Ángel di Maria started. Nicolás Otamendi, Marcos Acuña, Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso, Lautaro Martínez and Nico González were left out of the starting lineup.
The changes did not stop Argentina from starting strongly. Early in the game, Messi found Di María on the right, and the veteran winger eluded the Paraguayan defense with an assist to Gómez. The striker lifted a shot over Paraguay goalkeeper Antony Silva.
Argentina forced Silva to make important saves in the first half but the energy of the team waned in the second half, as it has in several recent matches.
Chile advance after drawing with Uruguay
Luis Suárez ended a goal-scoring drought for Uruguay that threatened to extend to a fifth straight game.
The veteran striker's 66th-minute equalizer helped Uruguay to 1-1 draw against Chile at the Copa America on Monday, its first point of the tournament.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
The result allowed Chile to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament and kept the Uruguayans in contention in Group A.
Chile's Eduardo Vargas opened the scoring in the 26th with a powerful crossed shot from the right, and Suárez levelled the score from close range.
Argentina leads Group A with seven points. Chile is in the second spot with five points, followed by Paraguay (3), Uruguay (1) and Bolivia (0).