WC Qualifier: Sanchez cancels Messi penalty as Chile hold Argentina

WC Qualifier: Sanchez cancels Messi penalty as Chile hold Argentina
Alexis Sanchez vs Lionel Messi

Argentina were denied the chance to overtake Brazil at the top of the South American World Cup qualifying group after being held to a 1-1 draw by Chile on Thursday.

Barcelona's talisman, Lionel Messi, gave the Argentines the lead through a penalty which took them straight ahead of their rivals Brazil after 23-minutes into the first half.

The lead did not last long as Inter Milan's forward, Alexis Sanchez, restored parity 13 minutes later following an assist from Bologna defender, Gary Medel.

Both sides remained at par despite Messi's multiple attempts, including one that struck the bar and three impressive denials by Chile goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, in Santiago del Estero.

Brazil which host Ecuador on Friday remained top of the qualification standings with two points ahead of Argentina while Chile stay sixth with two points adrift the qualification places having won only one of their five matches so far, according to AFP.

Reacting after the match, Messi said: "The team had a good dynamic, it wasn't easy playing again after so much time," he said. It was more than six months since the last round of qualifiers after two matchdays were postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was a special match given it was the first without Diego" Maradona, the legendary 1986 World Cup-winning captain who died in November.