Argentina 1-1 Chile: Lionel Messi’s stunning free-kick cancelled out by a controversial penalty

Lionel Messi of Argentina against Chile in Copa America 2021
Lionel Messi of Argentina against Chile in Copa America 2021

Argentina and Chile played out a 1-1 draw in the Group B clash in the Copa America earlier tonight. 

Lionel Messi scored the game’s opening goal in the first half, but Edu Vargas cancelled out Argentina’s lead with a second-half penalty. 

Here at Anytime football, we look at the three major talking points from tonight’s contest. 

Lionel Messi – the best player on the pitch

The Barcelona superstar fired in a spectacular free kick in the first half, and he was at the heart of everything positive tonight. 

Messi dropped deep to keep the ball moving with short passes; he took on defenders in the final third to create chances for his teammates and chipped in with a few quality set-pieces as well. 

Argentina could have easily won the game if Messi had proper support from his teammates. The chance he created for Nico Gonzalez should have been buried. The Stuttgart forward had a free header in the Chile box after Messi picked him out with a pin-point cross. 

Arturo Vidal’s controversial penalty

The Chilean won a controversial penalty for his side in the second half. The midfielder had already played the ball before the foul took place in the box, but VAR decided to award a spot-kick in Chile’s favour. 

Tagliafico caught Vidal’s foot during his follow-through, and Argentina were punished undeservedly. 

Emiliano Martinez saved Vidal’s initial effort, but Vargas headed in the rebound to level the scores. 

Argentina’s vulnerable midfield

Argentina will have to do a lot better at the centre of the park if they want to win the tournament. They kept giving the ball away tonight, and a better team would have punished them with all the misplaced passes. 

Messi had to do a lot of work all by himself because the midfielders failed to control the possession and support the attacking players. 

Rodrigo De Paul, who was asked to be the ball carrier, had a poor game, and Argentina failed to link the defence with their attack. Meanwhile, Lo Celso struggled to provide creativity in the final third despite working hard.