The Argentina national team played a 1-1 draw against Chile in World Cup qualifiers. Argentina did not play for more than six months after the two-day match was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Barcelona striker brought up Argentina in the 24th minute before a penalty in Santiago del Estero when Lautaro Martínez was fouled in the box by Guillermo Maripan.
Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Sánchez leveled 12 minutes later when former Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel cut a free-kick off Charles Aranguiz on goal. Messi saw a well-saved free-kick by Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the first half, before another free-kick when 10 minutes left in the bar.
Messi opened the scoring with a penalty, but Alexis Sanchez’s draw meant Argentina missed their chance to climb Brazil and go to the top of the standings.
The draw means Argentina are in second place and one point behind leaders Brazil, who will look to maintain their perfect qualification record when they host Ecuador on Friday. Chile are sixth after winning just one match out of five.
Lionel Messi has now scored 72 goals in 143 appearances for Argentina. As noted for Argentina football news, the national team captain said the World Cup qualifier against Chile was “special” as it was the first since the death of legendary former captain Diego Maradona. “It was a special match, considering it was the first without Diego,” quoted Messi. The team also paid tribute to the legend and unveiled the bronze statute of Diego Maradona.
In Thursday’s other South American qualifier, Everton defender Yerry Mina was involved in the scoreline as Colombia beat Peru 3-0 Lima. Mateus Uribe and Luis Diaz were also targeting for Colombia, which had lost their last two qualifiers with a 9–1 aggregate score.
Uruguay, who were left without a suspended Edinson Cavani, were drawn by a goalless draw in Paraguay in Montevideo, while Bolivia climbed from the bottom of the table with a 3-1 win over Venezuela in La Paz.
Another round of World Cup qualifiers will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, before the Copa America begins in Brazil on 13 June – a tour you can watch live on the BBC.