Chile last beat Argentina over a decade ago, and the Copa America match between the two in Rio began in line with that stat. Argentina was the dominant team and gave little space to Chile. Within the first 20 minutes of the match, Messi and Lautaro Martinez had had good chances and Nico Gonzalez had forced the Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo to make two wonderful saves.
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It was not until the 27th minute that Chile would get a shot on target when Meneses took on three defenders. The game’s second yellow, a rather desperate foul by Pulgar, gave Argentina a free-kick and the rest was almost a formality. Messi’s magic lies in turning the extraordinary into the ordinary. He stepped up to take the free-kick and despite Bravo’s effort, he scored another wonderful goal of his career. Only Messi can make a free-kick look like a formality and his genius had again given Argentina the lead. Minutes later, Arturo Vidal became the third person to be booked.
In an otherwise physical match, Messi had once again provided the surreal moment.
The second half saw Argentina continue with the momentum. In the 52nd minute, Argentina went on the counter, and Lautaro found Messi, who was unable to get his shot away. On the other end of the pitch, Martinez made a wonderful save to deny Vargas, but the subsequent challenge by Taglifico on Vidal was adjudged penalty by referee Wilmar Roldan after a long VAR review. Vidal scored the penalty, and the match was tied with a little over 30 minutes to go.
Argentina brought in Palacios and Di María in place of Paredes and Lo Celso to bring in some much-needed creativity, and while Di Maria was bright, he too was unable to produce much in the way of a breakthrough. In the 80th minute, however, Messi’s exceptional cross served the goal on a plate for Gonzalez. He, however, missed a rather straightforward chance. The arrival of Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero signalled that Argentina was not happy with a draw. But sadly for them, that was all they could manage. Chile, however, would take immense heart from this performance, especially the way their defence handled the Messi-led onslaught.
Starting XI: Martínez; Montiel, M. Quarta, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Lo Celso; Messi, Lautaro, González (4-3-3)
Bench: Armani (GK), Marchesín (GK), Pezzela, Martínez, Molina, Acuña, Palacios, Rodríguez, Di María, A. Correa, J. Correa, Agüero
Starting XI: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Maripán, Mena; Aránguiz, Pulgar, Vidal; Palacios, Vargas, Meneses (4-3-3)
Bench: Arias (GK), Castellón (GK), Roco, Pinares, Mora, Galdames, Baeza, Vegas, Alarcón, Díaz, Montes, Núñez
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