Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso were on target for Argentina as they beat Venezuela 2-0 to set up a mouth-watering Copa America semi-final against hosts, Brazil.
Martinez’s 10th-minute finish was his sixth goal for the Albiceleste in 10 international appearances.
Argentina were lacklustre in the second half, but Lo Celso capitalised on an error from Venezuela goalkeeper, Wuilker Farinez, to make his team comfortable at the Maracana – Stadium, where they lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany.
Free-kick Deliveries by Lionel Messi and Leandro Paredes were causing Venezuela problems and, after an unmarked German Pezzella should have opened the Scoring before Martinez did.
The Inter Milan star converted a wonderful back heel from Aguero’s miscued shot, after which yellow cards for captain, Tomas Rincon, and midfielder Yangel Herrera, showed that Venezuela were losing their composure.
Jhon Chancellor headed over a chance to equalise in the 40th minute for the Venezuelans, although Rafael Dudamel’s side needed a clearance from Roberto Rosales to prevent Martinez from scoring his second after an interplay between Messi and Marcos Acuna.
It was another frustrating day for Messi, who was well marked by combative opponents.
The 2014 World Cup finalists will now face Brazil on Tuesday at Belo Horizonte.