Captain Di María keeps Argentina's momentum going
La Albiceleste beats Chile 1-2 despite Messi's absence. Ecuador upsets Brazil with a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualifiers. Angel Di Maria celebrates his goal against Chile during the world cup qualifiers on Thursday.
At some point, Argentina will have to get used to playing and winning without Messi. In Calama, in northern Chile, there was a simulation of that. The Albiceleste played without their star player, out of the call-up list due to a request from PSG. Fun88 That did not mean any setback because the Argentines already have their direct ticket to the World Cup in Qatar. A 1-2 away victory on Chilean soil and without any surprises. The only thing left for them is to close the gap on Brazil in the standings.
The Argentine national team relied on Angel Di Maria as its new leader. The player who also plays for the Parisian club was key to open the door for his team. Just nine minutes into the match, the slender player outwitted three opponents to settle in and score a goal from outside the box, right into the corner to beat the evergreen Fun88 Claudio Bravo in goal. In the absence of the Argentine 10, Lionel Scaloni, the coach, sent on Alejandro Papu Gomez, who has shone with Lopetegui's Sevilla. The Chilean response, desperate to find a good result, was accompanied by new blood. Marcelino Nunez crossed for England-born Ben Brereton to make it 1-1. Argentina set the game's scoreline when Rodrigo De Paul shot against Bravo and the Betis goalkeeper, trying to deny him, left the ball for Lautaro Martinez to make it 1-2.
La Roja is having a hard time. The Chileans, right now, are out of the World Cup. They did not qualify in Russia 2018 either. The management of Martin Lasarte still does not end up igniting and leaves on the way key points. He will have the match against Bolivia, in the sweltering La Paz, to try to revive in the tournament. Argentina will face Colombia on Tuesday, February 2, and will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record (nine wins, five draws).
Video refereeing saves Brazil
Ecuador has been one of the surprise packages in South America. The Ecuadorians are third (24 points) in the standings behind Brazil (36) and Argentina (32). On Thursday, they had the chance to secure their ticket, and they came very close. Fun88 The Ecuadorians lost Alexander Domínguez, their goalkeeper, to a red card after he left his studs on the neck of Brazil's Matheus Cunha. The Canarinha then lost their full-back Emerson to a double yellow card and almost saw their goalkeeper, Alisson, sent off when he lifted his foot on a goal kick over the head of Enner Valencia. The referee sent him off, but the VAR rectified it.