Lionel Messi goal for Argentina against Paraguay earns Copa America draw

Result

The Barcelona star’s penalty gives Argentina fans a glimmer of hope that they will reach the last eight

A Lionel Messi penalty earned Argentina a 1-1 draw against Paraguay in the Copa America.

Having been beaten by Colombia in their group opener, a point here gave them hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Messi levelled from the spot against Paraguay, though Argentina are still bottom of their group

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Messi levelled from the spot against Paraguay, though Argentina are still bottom of their group

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Argentina are still bottom of Group B with one point from two games, but they could progress to the last eight by beating Qatar in their final match next Sunday.

The two best third-placed teams advance to the quarter-finals, meaning they will be knocked out of the tournament with anything less than a win.

In Belo Horizonte, Richard Sanchez put Paraguay ahead in the 37th minute after some strong running from Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron, however, Messi levelled things in the second half after a handball by Paraguay’s Ivan Piri,s which no-one appealed for but was spotted by a VAR review.

Colombia lead the group on six points after beating Qatar 1-0 earlier on thanks to a late goal from Duvan Zapata, with Paraguay second on two.

“We are lucky that we are still alive in this tournament,” coach Lionel Scaloni said afterwards.

“Our first half was not good, we played with desperation at times and we couldn’t control the play or create attacks. We had a very clear plan but couldn’t execute it as we kept losing the ball.

“They scored with their first attack and that caused us a lot of uncertainty. For a team like Argentina, which feels like it always has to win, the first blow is hard to take, but we assured the players at half-time that it was just one goal.”