South America restarted the World Cup qualifiers. On the fifth match date, Argentina was insufficient to defeat Chile in Santiago del Estero (1-1). Messi, who scored a goal, pushed the albiceleste as far as the Chilean resistance allowed them.
Argentina took the field with a tribute to Diego Armando Maradona and with Messi more captain than ever. The albiceleste started with the goal of maintaining its undefeated in the qualifiers against a Chile without Arturo Vidal, positive for covid-19. A favorable penalty gave the Argentines a boost in the first half. Lautaro Martínez fell in the area hindered by Chilean Guillermo Maripán. The VAR validated the infraction and Messi was in charge of scoring against his former teammate Claudio Bravo. The panorama seemed to be comfortable for those of Scaloni.
Chile reprimanded the Argentines very early. The golden connection between Charles Aránguiz, Gary Medel and Alexis Sánchez sealed a great goal from the stopped ball. Aránguiz crossed to the baseline for Medel to return the shot to the center for a Sánchez who found a hole in the defense for the 1-1. In the throes of the first half, Bravo denied him a goal from a free kick that slipped through the corner.
Argentina tried to revolutionize its eleven with the entry of Ángel Correa. The albiceleste could not meet Messi or the agile Di María. Lautaro Martínez looked for plays on his own, but he was not fine as in the season with Inter. And Messi to his own: dodging kicks and trying to change the rhythm. In one of his interventions, a second free kick, he sent the ball to the tip of the goal corner. The last of the 10 was a pumped shot that Bravo reached out to deflect it.
The Argentines remain in second place in the standings with 11 points, below Brazil, after three wins (0-2 against Peru, 1-2 against Bolivia and 1-0 against Ecuador).
The missing ingredient in South American football is the fans. The escalation of covid cases has denied the attendance of fans. Last March, Conmebol had to postpone the double round of knockout matches due to the restrictions of the health crisis. The matches, however, moved just a few days before the start (June 13) of the eventful Copa América.
The great tournament of the American teams was to be played in Colombia and Argentina, the two host countries. The Colombian government was unable to hold the tournament due to the social outbreak that began on April 28. The proposal for a tax reform by the Iván Duque Administration and the police brutality unleashed social discontent. In Argentina, the second wave of covid-19 has complicated the hospital situation with more than 35,000 new daily cases in recent days. Conmebol offered the headquarters to Brazil, one of the countries that has worst managed the pandemic with more than 16 million infections and more than 467,000 deaths.
The Uruguayan team returned to the Centenario stadium field with Luis Suárez as commander-in-chief, although with wet gunpowder. The Charruas drew 0-0 against a rugged Paraguay that neutralized their offensive cards. Not even the intensity of Federico Valverde could open the wall of the Paraguayans who dedicated themselves to defending the tie as visitors. Uruguay had scored thanks to Jonathan Rodríguez, champion striker in Mexico with Cruz Azul, but the video refereeing thwarted everything. Óscar Washington Tabárez’s pupils have gotten into the mud of the middle table of the classification.