Rio de Janerio:
Despite Messi’s intense performance, Argentina was held 1-1 by Chile in its Copa America opener here on Monday. The Group B game at the Nilton Santos Stadium was also marked by a tribute to Argentine great Diego Maradona, who passed away in November 2020 at the age of 60.
Lionel Scaloni-coached Argentina wasted three clear opportunities between the 16th and 18th minutes, with one from Lautaro Martinez and two from Nicolas Gonzalez. But, Messi opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with a brilliant free-kick. Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo couldn’t stop it despite getting a touch on the ball while diving to his left.
Argentina continued to pile the pressure on Chile, which was missing injured forward Alexis Sanchez. But, Chile transformed into a more attacking team in the second half and earned a penalty after a video review. Arturo Vidal’s shot from the spot was stopped, but Eduardo Vargas nodded into the empty goal to level the scoring in the 57th minute.
In the other match in Goiania, Paraguay came from a goal down to defeat Bolivia 3-1, thanks to a double from Angel Romero. Alejandro Romero netted the other goal.
Results: Group B: Argentina 1 (Lionel Messi 33’) drew with Chile 1 (Eduardo Vargas 57’); Paraguay 3 (Alejandro Romero 62’, Angel Romero 65’ & 80’) beat Bolivia 1 (Erwin Saavedra 10’ (P))