ARGENTINA VS CHILE

Match Report: Argentina vs Chile ; La Albiceleste and La Roja share points at Rio after Vargas' penalty shadows Lionel Messi's outrageous freekick.

locked swords with in the Monday night Copa America clash between the two gigantic South American nations. One of them had revenge in their eyes while the other one looked to add a new piece of a chapter in their history.

The wonderful Argentinian Lions dominated the first half of the game. Keeping most parts of the possession and constantly finding pockets of space to shoot, a goal looked inevitable.

 

 

 

Although Scaloni’s squad got the results owing to a household name in Argentina, Lionel Messi. A 33rd-minute free-kick fell in the hands of the South American as the Barcelona man curled the ball quite perfectly. The 73rd goal for his national outfit, this strike had to be beautiful.

 

Lionel Scaloni was the happier of the two managers as one team went into the tunnel to work on reducing the deficit whereas the other went to draw a roadmap of destruction in Brazil.

After the interval, the two teams came out all guns blazing. Attacks after attacks it seemed we would soon see the net bulge. The Chilean fans’ dreams finally turned into reality when they got an opportunity to equalise. A penalty in the 53rd minute was converted on the rebound by a steaming Eduardo Vargas after Vidal missed the first opportunity.

 

 

A 1-1 scoreline and both the teams started dominating their rival defenders. Unfortunately, none of them could benefit from the number of chances they received. Though Argentina had twice as many chances they and Chile failed convert a lot of those

 

 

If not for set-pieces the match could have finished 0-0 destroying the hype around the game. Although the battle ended with both the teams sharing points in their opening Copa America game.

 

LA PULGA WITH A BEAUTY

Leo Messi, all-time top-scorer for Argentina changed the scenario of the game in the 33rd minute, to leave Chile bamboozled. A beautiful curler sneaking inside Bravo’s goal, Lionel Messi gave Albiceleste the much-needed advantage. The team in sky blue and white looked more dominant throughout the game with them creating waves and waves of opportunities.

A poignant South American battle, the match had all the ingredients for the perfect recipe. Although a closing down by a Chilean striker forced Emiliano Martinez to hover the ball upfield as it landed straight into Inter striker Lautaro Martinez’s pass.

 

 

Chile’s only chance to stop the counter was by bringing a rival shirt down which they did by giving away a naughty free-kick on the edge of the box. And then stepped up the Argentine King as he looked to convert the Deadball. A thunderous but composed strike dismantled Bravo’s hopes of keeping the ball out. Within the blink of an eye, a dejected Claudio Bravo was picking the ball out of his net.

 

 

Another one of those freekicks under the category of ‘Magical’, the astonishing Albiceleste once again proved to be the difference between the two armies. Messi’s masterclass in the first half laid the perfect base for Argentina to produce a steady performance and earn three points without worrying.

 

LA ROJA EQUALISE

A shocking surprise came just after the start of the second half. A beautiful through ball behind the Argentine defence put Eduardo Vargas one-on-one with the goalkeeper raising the heartbeats in the stadium. But Emiliano Martinez stood in front of the goal like a wall to save the thundering shot.

But Vidal was lingering on the edge of the box who tried reaching for the ball but was tussled aside by two defenders giving away a penalty to the red army. After a few minutes of consultation with the VAR team, the match official stayed firm with his decision as Vidal stepped up to take the spot-kick.

 

 

 

A hard-struck penalty was stopped by Argentina’s new hero Emiliano Martinez but the ball popped up straight into Vargas’s path who found the back of the net without any trouble.

 

 

Once again Argentina’s defensive woes were on display, a beautiful first-half followed by a troublesome start to the second-half meant Chile equalised and the scoreline was 1-1. The rebound by Vargas did raise a few eyebrows as the players protested that he had handballed it. Unfortunately, the referee believed otherwise and after wasting a handful of minutes in coming up to a conclusion, the goal stood for Chile.

 

THE STRIKERS FAIL!

The most disappointing factor in Argentina’s performance on Monday was their lack of flair and creativity near Chile’s goal. With a pool of attackers in their Arsenal, you would back Argentina to score some astonishing goals week in and week out. Unfortunately, the Albicelests forwards failed to showcase their talent in the opening fixture.

 

 

Other than Lionel Messi no one had a mouth-watering outing. Constantly troubling Chile with counter-attacks build-up play,seemed like Argentina had left their finishing boots at home. And if it would not have been for Messi’s free-kick, Argentina could have been on the back-foot from their first fixture. Poor finishing, lack of ideas in the final third, and constant wastage of possession indicated that the Argentine strikers hadn’t found the touch they were looking for.

 

 

 

It was expected that Martinez would replicate the heroics of his exceptional season with Italian champions Inter Milan. Unfortunately, Martinez had a cold day as he never hit the sweet part of the ball throughout the game. There can still be excuses in the first one or two matches but going into the tournament if Argentina’s strikers don’t return to their poacher’s mode, a farewell trophy for Lionel Messi would seem impossible.

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