2022 World Cup qualifiers: Lionel Messi on goal for Argentina in draw against Chile

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Manchester United flop Alexis Sanchez cancels Lionel Messi’s penalty as Chile hold on to a draw to prevent Argentina from rising above rivals Brazil in World Cup qualifiers

  • Argentina and Chile drew 1-1 in their World Cup qualifier
  • Captain Lionel Messi scored a penalty in the first half before Alexis Sánchez equalized
  • Messi saw a well-hit free kick saved by Claudio Bravo before another hit the post
  • Argentina are now 12 games unbeaten, but follow leader Brazil by one point

Lionel Messi scored a first-half penalty for host country Argentina before Chilean Alexis Sánchez equalized when their World Cup qualifier ended 1-1 on Thursday.

Messi converted from the dot midway through the first half after Guillermo Maripan brought down Lautaro Martinez in the penalty area. Chilean striker Sánchez tied the score in the 37th minute and finished off a fall from Gary Medel.

Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo made a save just before half-time with a world-class save to maintain the lead by tapping a free kick from Messi over the post.

A penalty from Lionel Messi was not enough for Argentina as they drew 1-1 against Chile

A penalty from Lionel Messi was not enough for Argentina as they drew 1-1 against Chile

Barcelona superstar shot home after Lautaro Martinez was knocked down

Barcelona superstar shot home after Lautaro Martinez was knocked down

Barcelona superstar shot home after Lautaro Martinez was knocked down

The Argentine captain is congratulated by teammates Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Di Maria

The Argentine captain is congratulated by teammates Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Di Maria

The Argentine captain is congratulated by teammates Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Di Maria

Messi also saw a free kick coming from the woodwork in the second half.

The Santiago del Estero game was Argentina’s first competitive outing since November and both sides looked rusty.

Argentina pushed through as the match progressed, but Chile’s rear guard was solid even without their talismanic midfielder Arturo Vidal, who missed the ball after contracting COVID-19.

Messi took almost all three points in the final five minutes, but his shot couldn’t pass Bravo.

But Chile quickly hit back when Inter's Alexis Sanchez scored from close range ten minutes later

But Chile quickly hit back when Inter's Alexis Sanchez scored from close range ten minutes later

But Chile quickly hit back when Inter’s Alexis Sanchez scored from close range ten minutes later

It was a well-crafted move as the former Man United star finished Gary Medel's cut

It was a well-crafted move as the former Man United star finished Gary Medel's cut

It was a well-crafted move as the former Man United star finished Gary Medel’s cut

The draw means Argentina are unbeaten in 35 games at home against Chile and have played 12 games without defeat since Brazil lost in the semi-finals of the Copa America 2019.

“The good thing is that this team is always standing up to be counted, trying to attack,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. “They (Chile) practically never created opportunities.”

Argentina are second in the qualifier of 10 teams from South America for Qatar 2022 with 11 points from five games, one point behind Brazil, which will face Ecuador on Friday.

Chile are sixth, with five points from five games.

The top four teams automatically qualify for Qatar, while the fifth-placed team enters an intercontinental play-off.

Messi came close with two free kicks - one hit the post - and also missed a late chance

Messi came close with two free kicks - one hit the post - and also missed a late chance

Messi came close with two free kicks – one hit the post – and also missed a late chance

Lionel Scaloni's men are now 12 games unbeaten, but failed to top Brazil in qualifying

Lionel Scaloni's men are now 12 games unbeaten, but failed to top Brazil in qualifying

Lionel Scaloni’s men are now 12 games unbeaten, but failed to top Brazil in qualifying

Colombia took their second win in qualifying, a 3-0 victory over last-seeded Peru.

Yerry Mina gave the visitors the lead five minutes before half-time and Peru’s task became even more difficult when Miguel Trauco was sent off with a yellow card just before half-time for a second foul.

Mateus Uribe made it 2-0 just four minutes into the second half and Luis DIaz added a third six minutes later.

Colombia was sixth, while Peru is the only one of the 10 teams to record another win.

Earlier in the day, Bolivia defeated Venezuela 3-1 at home and Uruguay and Paraguay drew 0-0 in Montevideo.

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