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Messi’s Argentina thwarted by Chile

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An electric Copa America match between Argentina and Chile ended in a 1-1 draw on Monday evening.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring after 33 minutes with a stunning freekick, placed into Claudio Bravo‘s top right corner. The Chile goalkeeper did get his fingertips to it, but it wasn’t enough to stop Messi from bagging his 57th career freekick.

After the break, Chile came out with a renewed vigour and just before the hour Eduardo Vargas went in on goal, only to be denied by Emiliano Martinez, though Arturo Vidal was fouled on the rebound.

As a result, the referee pointed to the spot after consulting VAR, and Vidal stepped up in an attempt to level. However, Martinez made a delightful save to top the Chilean midfielder’s spot kick onto the crossbar, but Vargas reacted quickest and nodded home the rebound.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, left, celebrates scoring his side’s opening goal against Chile.

Argentina had plenty of chances to make sure of the three points over the course of the game, but Nico Gonzalez and Lautaro Martinez fluffed their lines on more than one occasion.

Overall, Argentina had 18 shots, to Chile’s five with Bravo coming to La Roja’s rescue on more than one occasion.

“This match got complicated to us,” an exhausted Messi said after the match. “We needed to be calm, have the control of the possession and play more quickly. The penalty changed the match, too.”

Copa America was moved at late notice to Brazil after Colombia and Argentina were dropped as co-hosts. Many health experts criticized the move to a country where the COVID-19 death toll is nearing 490,000.

Paraguay and Bolivia were playing later Monday in Group A, which also includes Uruguay. Argentina’s next match is against Uruguay on Friday.

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