Argentina and Chile played out 1–1 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, in the fifth round of the World Cup Qualifiers in South America, with an Alexis Sánchez goal canceling a Lionel Messi penalty. The Argentina national team paid tribute to legend Diego Maradona. Argentine icon died on 25th November last year after suffering from heart failure, at the age of 60. He was widely considered as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Ahead of the launch, the national team and federation president was present at the unveiling of the new Maradona statue in front of the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudads, where Chile and Argentina played on Thursday.
The statue depicts a defiant Maradona, a hand on his waist, and a ball at his feet. An inscription on it reads “Diego Maradona, 1960-2020” and a symbol representing infinity.
While teams lined up on the field before the match, players wore T-shirts that displayed the image of Maradona with the year of his birth – 1960 and replaced the year of his death with symbols of infinity as the Argentina national team paid tribute to Maradona.
“This one [the match] is special because it was the first game without Diego,” Messi told reporters after the match. “It would have been nice if there were people in the stadium to pay tribute to him, but what is happening in the country and the world is complicated. We wanted to win and represent the national team like Maradona.”
The draw of the football match meant Argentina missed their chance to climb above Brazil at the top, while Chile remained in seventh place.
The investigation under the Maradona death case is still active and seven medical officials are allegedly charged with the murder of the world’s greatest footballer. Leopoldo Luque and Agustina Kosachov with five other doctors could be sentenced to eight to 25 years in prison.