Argentina superstar Lionel Messi on Monday scored a stunning free-kick, but Chile hit back to earn a 1-1 draw in the Copa America.
Messi’s magical left foot gave dominant Argentina a deserved first-half lead, but Eduardo Vargas equalized in the second half after Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal’s penalty.
Despite Argentina’s dominance, Messi said: “We weren’t calm, we didn’t have control of the ball.”
Houever, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni saw things differently.
“We deserved to win, but in the end we drew. In any case, it’s only the start of a very tough tournament,” Scaloni said. “I would be worried if the team wasn’t creating chances. The important thing is we are.”
Argentina were in total command and got the goal their domination deserved on 33 minutes into the Group A game in Estadio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro. Inevitably it was Messi who scored, curling a free-kick just beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo’s dive.
Chile started the second half with more intent and Erick Pulgar played Vargas into the area, but his shot on the stretch was saved by Martinez.
However, Vidal stormed in to try to fire home the rebound and was caught by Nicolas Tagliafico as he shot.
Referee Wilmar Roldan consulted the video assistant referee and then awarded a penalty.
Martinez tipped Vidal’s effort onto the crossbar, but Vargas was quickest to the ball to head home the equalizer.
“This team didn’t want to be beaten, even though they didn’t play well. This group of players are defiant,” Chile coach Martin Lasarte said.
In Monday’s other game, Angel Romero scored twice as Paraguay bounced back to beat 10-man Bolivia 3-1 and top Group A.
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