After a dramatic and hectic football season in Europe, international football has commenced. Back in Europe, the preparation for the Euro is underway while in Latin America, the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are back. At the new and sparkling new Madre de Ciudades Stadium, Argentina logged horns with Chile and ended up sharing points.

Before the match started, Diego Maradona was honoured by the Argentina national team with a statue outside Madre de Ciudades Stadium.

The team also wore No.10 kits before the game in honour of the legendary midfielder, with the shirts bearing his face and “1960-∞” to represent his timeless legacy.

Argentina were playing for the first time since November after the March qualifiers were cancelled.   They faced a Chile side that has struggled in their qualifiers so far, winning only one of their four games (D1 L2), with a few late goals costing them important points.

Martin Lasarte made seven changes to the side that started their last friendly against Bolivia in March. He welcomes back top-scorer Sanchez in support of Vargas. Bravo, Medel, Meneses and Galdames retain their places from that game.

Scaloni named a similar team to the one that started against Peru in Argentina’s last game in November, making just five changes, with Emiliano Martinez, Foyth, Romero, Angel Di Maria and Ocampos coming into the side.

Chile were compact.

Medel’s quick interception broke up an Argentina attack and he knocked it back to Bravo, who gets his head up and spots Vargas making a run down the right. He ran long, trying to pick him out but gives it straight to Emiliano Martinez.

Meneses was quickly in to win it off Ocampos, but his through ball into Sanchez was put out for a corner by Foyth.

Lionel Messi was caught on the ball and Mena slips it through to Sanchez, who skipped past Paredes before driving through midfield. He unselfishly tried to tee up Vargas to his right, but Romero was there to cut it out again for Argentina.

Argentina were struggling to get out of their own half, and their sloppy passing made it easy for Chile.

But the home team regrouped and advanced forward which resulted in a penalty.

Messi converted from the spot midway through the first half after Guillermo Maripan brought down Lautaro Martinez in the box.

Chile striker Sanchez levelled in the 37th minute, finishing off a cutback from Gary Medel.

Chile keeper Claudio Bravo made a world-class save to keep the scores level just before half-time, tipping a Messi free-kick round the post.

Argentina pushed forward as the game went on but Chile’s rearguard was solid, even without their talismanic holding midfielder Arturo Vidal, who missed out after contracting COVID-19.

Messi almost snatched all three points in the last five minutes but could not find a way past Bravo.

The draw means Argentina are unbeaten at home against Chile in 35 matches and have gone 12 games without defeat since losing to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America semifinals.

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