Messi scores as Chile defeats Argentina in a World Cup qualifying match.
After a 1-1 draw with Chile on Thursday, Argentina missed out on the chance to take over top spot in South American World Cup qualifying from rivals Brazil. Lionel Messi scored a penalty. Messi also hit the crossbar and forced three excellent saves from Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, but Alexis Sanchez earned a point for the tenacious visitors in Santiago del Estero. Argentina is now one point behind Brazil, the only other team with a perfect qualification record, which plays Ecuador on Friday.
Chile is currently in sixth place, two points behind qualification, having won only one of their five games thus far. Despite the loss, Argentina captain Lionel Messi expressed satisfaction with the result. “The team had a wonderful chemistry, and it was difficult to play after such a long time,” he remarked. After two matchdays were postponed in March owing to the coronavirus epidemic, it had been more than six months since the last round of qualifying. “It was a special encounter because it was the first without Diego” Maradona, Argentina’s renowned 1986 World Cup-winning captain, who passed away in November. On 15 minutes, the visitors, who were without veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal, who was hospitalized with Covid-19, had their first clean chance of goal, but Eduardo Vargas fizzed a low effort from 20 yards just wide. Argentina, on the other hand, was on top, and a penalty was awarded after a VAR check after Guillermo Maripan pulled down Lautaro Martinez in the box. On the 24th minute, Messi rolled the ball low to the left of Bravo, a former Barcelona and Manchester City goalkeeper who dived the wrong way.
After a stretched run of 12 minutes, Inter Milan forward Sanchez poked home into an empty net from four yards out. Gary Medel took Charles Aranguiz’s idea and turned it become a reality. Sanchez remarked, “I missed a goal for Argentina. I never scored a goal before so I’m really delighted.” Messi came near to regaining Argentina’s advantage in the first half of the injury with a free-kick of 20 meters to lead him to the top scorer until Bravo sprung to tip the ball with one hand. In the second session the hosts continued to gain better opportunities, but Bravo saved Angel Di Maria and Martinez handily. Sanchez sent a long-range free kick over the bar on the other side. Martinez was a live cordon in the box and shot wide before he came centimeters from turning into the dangerous zone in a tricky cross.
– Goodbye to the Messi –
Ten minutes after that, Messi got even closer to the score from an equal position to his first half free-kick, but smashed Bravo on the edge of the bar and the post. In the closing phases, the Barcelona wizard came to life and pushed Bravo in a huge extent down to his left, then a minute later, a block high up to his right. Argentina is visiting Colombia on Tuesday while Bolivia is hosting Chile. Without Edinson Cavani who had been suspended and whose partner born his fourth child before, Uruguay was struggling to win the 0-0 draw against Paraguay, which locked both sides in seven points and fought for the final automatic qualification slot. In a game with a few clearly identifiable chances, Uruguay did indeed have the ball in the net through Jonathan Rodriguez in the first half of the encounter in Montevideo.
In La Paz, Bolivia ascended the standings with a 3-1 win over Venezuela, Marcelo Moreno scored a brace. In the first half after Moreno’s goal, Jhon Chancellor had equalized for Venezuela, but Diego Bejarano put Bolivia back ahead in the hour before the hosts hero scored the win late. With a total of 9-1 losses from their past two games Colombia pushed Qatar 2022 back with a 3-0 win over Peru that Miguel Trauco had dispatched to Lima. Both parties completed 10 men, despite Daniel Munoz’s departure, with targets from Yerry Mina, Mateus Uribe, and Luis Diaz. Colombia won.