Lionel Messi Superb Free-Kick Not Enough As Argentina held to a draw by Chile in Copa America

Argentine star Lionel Messi scored one of his trademark free-kicks in their Group B opener against Chile at the Rio de Janeiro on Monday night.

Before the game, Argentina had paid an amazing tribute to legend Diego Maradona.

It was Argentina's first tournament match since his passing last November.

As the Argentine squad took to the pitch to warm up ahead of their game, the famous sound of 'Live is Life' rang out around the stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Lionel Messi had opened scoring for Argentina in the 33rd minute, before Eduardo Vargas equalised for Chile in the 57th minute to leave game even at 1-1.

When both sides met in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month, Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo acrobatically saved one Messi free kick and another hit the woodwork, but this time the Barcelona player went one better, curling a superb set piece into the corner of the net from 25 yards out.

Chile had defeated Argentina on penalties in the Copa America finals of 2015 and 2016, though the Chileans has never beaten their neighbours over 90 minutes of regular time in this tournament. 

Chile who missed the presence of their star man Alexis Sanchez through injury, they nevertheless battled back to equalise after a VAR consultation led to them being awarded a penalty kick.

Chile will be the happier side with a point than Argentina, who have now drawn four of their last five games.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has made 124 goal contributions in 151 appearances for Argentina scoring 73 times and creating 51 assist.

His free-kick against Chile was his first non-penalty goal with Argentina in a competitive match since the 2018 World Cup vs Nigeria. 

It's also his first direct free kick goal with Argentina since 2016 vs Colombia.

The Barcelona forward is now level with Cristiano Ronaldo in career free kick goals (57) in all competitions across club and country.

Paraguay take on Bolivia in the second Group B game later on Monday, with Aegentina next game would be against Uruguay, debuting early on Saturday morning.

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