Messi scores but Chile hold Argentina in World Cup qualifier

SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO – Lionel Messi scored a penalty but Argentina missed out on the chance to take over top spot of South American World Cup qualifying from rivals Brazil after a 1-1 draw with Chile. Messi also clipped the woodwork and forced three impressive saves out of Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo but Alexis Sanchez earned the dogged visitors a point in Santiago del Estero. The draw leaves Argentina a point behind Brazil, the only remaining side with a perfect qualifying record, who host Ecuador on Friday. Chile are down in sixth, still two points off the qualification places having won only one of their five matches so far. The visitors, who were missing veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal — hospitalized with Covid-19 — had the first clear sight of goal on 15 minutes but Eduardo Vargas fizzed a low effort narrowly wide from 20 yards. Argentina were on top, though, and the hosts were awarded a penalty following a VAR check when Guillermo Maripan recklessly brought down Lautaro Martinez in the box. On Tuesday, Argentina travel to Colombia while Chile host Bolivia. Without the suspended Edinson Cavani, whose partner gave birth to his fourth child earlier in the day, Uruguay labored to a 0-0 draw with Paraguay that kept the two sides locked on seven points and battling for the final automatic qualification spot. Marcelo Moreno scored a brace as Bolivia climbed off the bottom of the table with a 3-1 win over Venezuela in La Paz.



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