Lionel Messi scored a stunning free kick as Argentina drew with Chile

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LIONEL Messi scored a stunning free kick as Argentina drew with Chile after the Copa America paid a spectacular tribute to Diego Maradona.

Messi curled home from the edge of the area towards the end of the first half of the Group A opener.

But Eduardo Vargas headed in an equaliser after Arturo Vidal’s penalty had been saved.

Just before kick-off, Argentina legend Maradona was remembered with a dazzling light and effects display.

It saw a holographic version of the 1986 World Cup winner perform kick ups before clips of his goals were projected on to the pitch.

Maradona, one of the greatest ever footballers, died in November last year at the age of 60.

After the game got under way, Argentina took the lead 12 minutes before half-time when Messi picked himself up after being fouled just outside the area to bend in a free-kick.

It was the Barcelona forward’s 73rd international goal.

However, Chile levelled in the second half when Vidal was judged to have been fouled inside the box after a VAR review.

Vidal’s spot-kick was pushed on to the crossbar but Vargas reacted quickly to head in.

The 47th edition of the Copa America – delayed a year because of the coronavirus outbreak – was originally scheduled to take place in Argentina and Colombia but was moved to Brazil after the original hosts were stripped of the tournament.

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) removed Colombia as co-hosts in May amid anti-government protests and Argentina were later replaced because of rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

The BBC is broadcasting all 28 games from the 2021 Copa America, which runs until 10 July and features the 10 Conmebol nations.

BBC Sport

– June 15, 2021 @ 10:44 GMT |

 

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