Lionel Messi scores sensational free-kick for Argentina to hand them dream start to Copa America opener against Chile as superstar bids for first EVER international trophy… but rivals hit back to take a point
- Argentina was forced to settle for just a point in their first Copa America fixture
- Lionel Messi netted the opener against Chile in stunning fashion from a free-kick
- The talisman took the effort from 25 yards and found the net with plenty of whip
- But despite the stunning strike, Chile were able to fight back to claim the draw
Lionel Messi netted a stunning free-kick in Argentina’s Copa America opener against Chile – but was unable to stop his team from dropping two points.
Argentina talisman Messi is still yet to win his first international trophy with his country, and set about kickstarting their quest to end the drought with a jaw-dropping effort from a set piece.
In typical style, his strike was lofted with delicious whip from 25 yards, before it arched over the wall and nestled into the back of the net.
Lionel Messi netted a jaw-dropping free-kick in Argentina’s Copa America draw with Chile
After Argentina were awarded a free-kick, Messi found the net with a superb effort that dipped
His wand of a left foot delivered the damage after a foul was won from distance, and even the faintest of touches from goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was unable to prevent Messi from wheeling away in wild celebration.
The effort chalked up his 73rd goal for Argentina – and also saw him overtake all-time great Gabriel Bautistuta to become the top scorer for his nation in competitive matches, with a tally of 39.
His goal was later overshadowed, however, with Chile rallying and taking a hard-earned point.
Claudio Bravo was at full stretch in his acrobatic attempt to palm away, but the shot hit the net
Chile fought back to take a point when Eduardo Vargas (right) craned to steer home a header
They were awarded a penalty on 57 minutes when Nicolas Tagliafico was penalised for leaving his foot in on Arturo Vidal inside the box.
The midfielder had looked to latch on to a rebound following a save from Emiliano Martinez, but as he made contact with the ball, full back Tagliafico was found guilty of clumsily bundling him over.
After the decision was ratified by a check using the pitchside VAR monitor, Vidal drove the spot-kick towards goal, only for Martinez to spring into action and tip onto the crossbar.
But unluckily for him, and Argentina, Eduardo Vargas reacted quickest to the loose ball to power in with his head.
Arturo Vidal missed a penalty in the second half but Vargas was on hand to score the rebound
Messi tried in earnest to secure a welcome win for the heavyweights, with his team-mates guilty of squandering a number of good openings when teed up by him.
Lautaro Martinez was the first to be left frustrated after guiding a header at Bravo, following an inviting free-kick in a deep position from Messi.
And with the minutes ticking down, Messi was involved once again, this time lofting a wonderful pass over the top for Nicolas Gonzalez to meet just yards out.
The forward could only nod over the crossbar, however, and his roar, which echoed around the empty ground in Rio de Janeiro, encapsulated Argentina’s evening.
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