Lionel Messi scored a beautiful free kick once again, this one providing Argentina with a 1-0 lead in the first half of a match versus Chile. Chile’s Eduardo Vargas was able to put one in the back of the net before the final whistle, forcing a 1-1 draw between the sides in their Copa America opener in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In the 33rd minute, Messi scored a curling free kick from 25 meters away. The stunning strike left Chilean goalie Claudio Bravo with no chance. The goal made Messi Argentina’s all-time goal scorer in competitive matches with 38 goals, passing Gabriel Batistuta who scored 37. Messi has 73 goals for Argentina in total, yet only 38 were scored in competitive matches.

Vargas’ equalizer came in the 58th minute. After Arturo Vidal‘s penalty kick was saved by Argentinian goalie, Emiliano Martinez, Vargas followed up the rebound and headed the ball into the back of the net.

Throughout the game, Messi displayed his brilliance and created a plentitude of opportunities, which Argentina failed to capitalize on. “This match got complicated to us,” said Messi. “We needed to be calm, have the control of the possession and play more quickly. The penalty changed the match too. We wanted to start winning; it was important to start out with a victory. We played a difficult opponent. Uruguay will also be complicated. Two hard matches to start this Copa America.”

“We had six or seven clear chances and we missed them, and Chile got a good draw,” said Argentina’s Martinez, expressing his frustration. “The chances we made today were enough to win by 4- or 5-1.”

On the other hand, the Chilean side was content with the result. “Leo always makes you change your formation. Thank God we managed to secure a draw,” Vidal said. “We are still recovering our intensity, changing the system a little. It was a tough match; we tried to keep the order.”

This game took place in an empty Nilton Santos stadium, which was the site of the 2016 Olympic Games’ track and field events. The pitch was in poor condition and was influential throughout the game, as it seemed to slow down both teams.

The result increased Argentina’s unbeaten streak to 14 games, which began in the 2019 Copa America semifinal.

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