(EFE) – Argentina and Chile equaled 1-1 in Rio de Janeiro this Monday, with goals from Lionel Messi and Eduardo Vargas, in the first match of Group A of the Copa América in Brazil.
‘La Pulga’ scored a free kick in the 33rd minute and Vargas headed in the 57th minute, after goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez deflected a penalty from Arturo Vidal.
Messi became, with 39 goals, the top scorer for the Argentine team in competitive matches (he was already including friendlies) by beating Gabriel Batistuta by one.
Of these 39 goals, the Argentine captain scored 6 in the World Cups, 23 in the World Cup qualifiers and ten in America’s Cups.
Vargas, for his part, reached 13 goals with La Roja in Copa América matches.
Minutes before the start of the match, the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) held an audiovisual show in tribute to the Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, who died on November 25, 2020.
Both teams entered the field of play with the intention of taking over the ball and being protagonists and for that reason the first minutes were even and intense.
There was also a coincidence in the formations chosen by the selectors, who chose to play with four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.
At 11 minutes, Giovani Lo Celso took his mark off on the left, overflowed and sent a cross that Lautaro Martínez almost transformed into a goal, but the ‘Toro’ shot was deflected and Argentina could not get ahead on the scoreboard .
Chile came close to scoring two minutes later after a bad setback from Argentina on a corner kick, but Nicolás Otamendi reached his own area to avoid the goal.
Shortly after, Nicolás González had three clear chances to score, but Claudio Bravo blocked two shots and a powerful header went over the crossbar.
In the first minutes, Lo Celso overshadowed Messi and was the team’s point guard.
Precisely Lo Celso was fouled near the area, which ‘la Pulga’ changed for a goal with a precise free kick in the 33rd minute.
From the goal, Argentina, which went from lowest to highest, raised its level and Chile was very far from the rival goal.
There were no changes at halftime and the same 22 came out to play the second half.
At 52 minutes, Vargas was hand in hand against goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who managed to deflect the shot.
But after the rebound, Nicolás Tagliafico committed a penalty to Vidal when he tried to reject the ball.
The Colombian referee Wilmar Roldán, who in the first instance had not charged the fault, consulted the VAR (video arbitration system) and sanctioned the maximum penalty.
At 57, Vidal kicked hard to the goalkeeper’s right side, Martínez flew and touched it, the ball hit the crossbar and Vargas pushed it with his head to make it 1-1.
The Chilean goal disconcerted the Albiceleste team, which suffered several rival attacks and had to delay in the field to avoid conceding another goal.
Vidal, in the scepter of the field, and Vargas, on the offensive, became gigantic and disturbed the Argentines on several occasions.
Lionel Scaloni sent Ángel Di María and Exequiel Palacios to the field instead of Lo Celso and Leandro Paredes to try to regain control of the game.
Messi, with two medium-distance shots, was the most dangerous of the Argentines and Nicolás Domínguez again missed two clear opportunities.
Sergio ‘el Kun’ Agüero entered the 80th minute and Argentina was superior in the last moments, but Chile endured the attacks and the match ended in a draw.
In the next round, Argentina will face Uruguay and Chile against Bolivia on Friday.
Paraguay is the other team that makes up Group A.
The best four will qualify for the quarterfinals.