Argentina’s ninth victory in the qualifying round helped them to close the gap with the top of the group Brazil to four points. Argentina has 32 points from 14 matches and together with Brazil are the two teams that have not lost in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in South America. The unbeaten streak of teachers and coaches Lionel Scaloni has increased to 28 matches, lasting from July 2019.
Argentina beat Chile in the absence of Messi
Without Lionel Messi , coach Scaloni placed Lautaro Martinez in the center, Nicolas Gonzalez and Angel Di Maria supported from the wings. On the bench, the away team also has a series of attacking stars such as Paulo Dybala , Angel Correa and Giovani Lo Celso. Host Chile needs to win to keep their hopes up for a play-off to qualify for the World Cup, while Argentina is relaxed because it is sure to be in Qatar next year.
The pressure to win forced Chile to attack right after the opening. They created a chance to score in the third minute. Alexis Sanchez took a low free kick from the edge of the box, allowing Eduardo Vargas to cut his header into the far corner. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez could not save but the ball went wide of the post.
Six minutes after missing the chance, Chile conceded. From a quick counter-attack on the right, Di Maria turned the ball in, then cut the left leg when in front of three Chilean players. The ball rolled to the far corner, knocking out Claudio Bravo. The opening goal gave Argentina the basis to continue playing slowly, waiting for the opportunity to counterattack.
Chile do not want to repeat the defeat at home like the previous round, when they dried their shirt 0-2 against Ecuador. The home team focused on attacking but could only deploy the ball to two sides. 20 minutes, from Nunez’s ball, striker Ben Brereton Diaz headed in a tight angle. The ball rolled over Martinez’s head into the net.
When the game was getting better, Chile conceded a second time, from Bravo’s mistake. Former Barca and Man City goalkeeper punches the ball after De Paul’s long shot. The ball bounced right in front of goal and Martinez eased into the net. Coach Martin Lasarte decided to withdraw Chile’s number one goalkeeper from the field right after the goal, making room for Brayan Cortes.
Mr. Lasarte made three more substitutions in the first 15 minutes of the second half. New factors help the host’s playstyle brighter. But, Chile’s attacks often fail on the last pass or shot. Argentina with the advantage of taking the initiative to hold the ball firmly and reduce the tempo. Thanks to a better quality midfield, the away team made a few dangerous counter-attacks, putting pressure on the Chilean defense.
The hosts’ best chance at the last minute was Suazo’s cross for Brereton Diaz. The ball passed two Argentine defenders, but Diaz controlled the error when standing five meters from the goal. Five minutes of compensation at the end of the second half was not enough for Chile to make a difference in attack. They lost their seventh match in the World Cup qualifiers, stomping on seventh place with 16 points.
Chile : Bravo (Cortes 35′), Diaz, Medel, Maripan, Vegas (Suazo 46′), Aranguiz, Pulgar, Nunez (Montecinos 60′), Brereton Diaz (Isla 61′), Vargas (Morales 85′), Alexis Sanchez
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