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Copa America: Lionel Messi Penalty Helps Argentina Earn Draw with Paraguay

Copa America 2019: Richard Sanchez scored for Paraguay while Lionel Messi found the back of the net for Argentina as they settled for a 1-1 draw.

News18 Sports

Updated:June 20, 2019, 8:07 AM IST
Copa America: Lionel Messi Penalty Helps Argentina Earn Draw with Paraguay
Lionel Messi scored to help Argentina get a 1-1 draw with Paraguay. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Belo Horizonte: Argentina got themselves on the board in the 2019 edition of Copa America as Lionel Messi's penalty helped them get a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Paraguay at the Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto in Belo Horizonte on Thursday.

Argentina required intervention from Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to get started at the Copa America and Messi even seemed to thank the system in his goal celebration.

For Paraguay, a draw against Argentina is definitely huge but they would be deflated knowing they had the chance to win this one and pile on Argentina's misery.

If Messi buried the penalty awarded to Argentina, Derlis Gonzalez missed the one Paraguay received just moments after as the two teams settled for a draw.

Franco Armani-Reuters

Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani celebrates after saving Derlis Gonzalez's penalty. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

From Group B, Colombia have already qualified for the quarter-finals with six points from two games while Paraguay now sit second after two points from two games.

Qatar sit third having earned a point against Paraguay in their opener while Argentina sit at the bottom with one point but an inferior goal difference to Qatar.

Argentina started the match on the attack but failed to create too many chances in the period of domination. Paraguay, on the other hand, took a cautious approach in the start but broke the shackles in the 37th minute.

Miguel Almiron ran at the Argentinian defence on the left flank while two defenders around him struggled to keep up with his face. Having run the pitch distance from his own half, Almiron squared the ball in the centre. At the edge of the box, Richard Sanchez got to the ball and slotted the ball home to give Paraguay the lead.

With the lead in pocket, Paraguay showed more confidence going up front and troubling Argentinian defence but the scoreline stayed 1-0 in favour of Paraguay at half time.

After the break, the situation did not change much as Argentina struggled to create anything of value. In the 55th minute, Sergio Aguero showed some power to put the ball in the centre from the right but two attempts later, Argentina failed to find the back of the net.

However, this is where VAR came to their rescue. VAR's intervention meant the referee had a look for a possible penalty over handball and after looking at the footage, Argentina were awarded the penalty.

Lionel Messi stepped up and buried the ghosts of all those crucial misses and scored the penalty.

Just a few minutes later, Nicolas Otamendi put in a rash challenge in the box and the referee immediately awarded a penalty to Paraguay. However, Derlis Gonzalez missed from the spot and Argentina were handed a huge lifeline.

Thereafter, both teams failed to create anything of note and seemed to have made peace with the draw.

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