Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot but Argentina failed to secure first place in the World Cup qualifiers for South America after a 1-1 draw with their opponents in Brazil on Thursday. Messi also cut wood and forced three spectacular shots from Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, but Alexis Sanchez earned the visitors a point in Santiago del Estero. The draw leaves Argentina one point behind Brazil, the only one left with a perfect ranking record, which will take on Ecuador on Friday.
Chile is in sixth place, still two points clear of the standings, having won only one of the five matches so far.
Argentine captain Lionel Messi appeared pleased with the result, although he did not win.
“The team had a good dynamic, after so much time it wasn’t easy to play again,” he said. More than six months had passed since the last qualifying round in March was postponed by two days due to the Pandemic coronavirus.
“It was a special match because it was the first without Diego,” said Maradona, the legendary captain who won the 1986 World Cup in November.
Sanchez has broken the Argentine duck
The visitors missed veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal – hospitalized with Covid-19 – who scored their first goal in 15 minutes, but Eduardo Vargas made a small effort just 20 meters away.
Argentina were on top, but the hosts received a penalty after VAR control when Guillermo Maripan cautiously threw Lautaro Martinez into the box.
Messi accidentally threw the ball to the left of the former Barcelona and Manchester City goalkeeper Bravo, who plunged it wrong in the 24th minute.
The lead lasted just 12 minutes before the Milan striker Sanchez went four meters into the net after Gary Medel returned a free kick from Charles Aranguiz inside the goal.
“I was missing a goal against Argentina, I had never scored before, so I’m very happy,” Sanchez said after the match.
In the first half, Messi was close to regaining Argentina’s lead in the first half with a free kick from 20 meters until Bravo jumped to the ball with his hand.
The hosts continued to come up with better chances in the second half, but Bravo comfortably kept Angel Di Maria and Martinez.
At the other end, Sanchez fired over the bar with a long-range shot.
His inter-teammate Martinez was a direct cable and threw the shot out before turning a diabetic cross into the danger zone before reaching inches.
Bravo has denied Messi
Ten minutes later, from the same position in the same shot in the first half, Messi came even closer to score, but he cornered the crossbar beating Bravo.
The Barcelona magician came to life in the final stages and forced Bravo to the left, and a minute later to the right.
On Tuesday, Argentina traveled to Colombia while Chile took on Bolivia.
Without the suspension of Edinson Cavani, the same day the couple gave birth to their fourth son, Uruguay drew 0-0 with Paraguay to keep both sides locked at seven points and fight for the final position in the final standings.
In a game with few clear chances, Uruguay had the ball in the net through Jonathan Rodriguez in the first half in Montevideo, but it was an offside against Matias Vina.
Marcelo Moreno scored the key as Bolivia rose to the bottom of the table with a 3-1 win over Venezuela in La Paz.
Chancellor Jhon equalized in Venezuela in the first half after Moreno’s opening match, but Diego Bejarano put Bolivia ahead again before the hosts ’Heroes sealed the victory.
The issues mentioned in this article
Be Updated with all the Latest Sports News