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Spot on Messi fires Argentina over Chile in World Cup qualifier


Buenos Aires (AFP) – Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot as Argentina revived their World Cup qualifying campaign with a battling 1-0 win over rivals Chile on Thursday.

Barcelona star Messi stroked home his penalty on 16 minutes after veteran Chile defender Jose Fuenzalida brought down Angel Di Maria with a clumsy challenge.

The goal settled a tense battle at Buenos Aires’ famous Estadio Monumental between the two South American heavyweights.

Argentina lost back-to-back Copa America finals against Chile in 2015 and 2016, losing on penalties on both occasions.

Last year, Messi was distraught after missing his penalty in the shootout at the Copa America Centenario in New York.

But the diminutive maestro made no mistake on Thursday, drilling his spot-kick beyond former Barcelona teammate Claudio Bravo to secure a vital three points for the two-time world champions.

The win leaves Argentina in third place overall in the 10-team qualifying competition with 22 points from 13 games.

The top four finishers qualify automatically for next year’s finals in Russia.

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