Argentina 1 1 Paraguay: Messi and Argentina on the verge of Copa America exit

Lionel Messi’s second-half penalty was enough for Argentina to savage a 1-1 draw with Paraguay at the Copa America.

Messi converted a 57th-minute spot-kick after Argentina had fallen behind to a Richard Sanchez goal in Belo Horizonte.

Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani was soon needed to keep his side level shortly after the hour-mark, saving a Derlis Gonzalez penalty.

The Albiceleste goalkeeper was lucky to not have received his marching orders when he fouled Gonzalez outside his area at the end of the first half.

Richard Sanchez put Paraguay ahead in the 37th minute, firing into the bottom corner after a lung-bursting run from Miguel Almiron down the left wing.

Argentina captain Messi levelled in the 57th minute after a handball by Paraguay’s Ivan Peris after a VAR review.

The Barcelona forward, who is searching for his first trophy with Argentina after losing four major finals, blasted in the resulting spot-kick.

The draw saw Argentina earn their first point in Group B, but they remain bottom behind Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar.

The result ensured Colombia clinched top spot in the group on six points after they beat Qatar 1-0 earlier on. Paraguay are second on two points.

Argentina still have their fate in their hands and could progress to the last eight with a win over Asian Cup winners Qatar in their final group game on Sunday.

Argentina’s caretaker coach Lionel Scaloni admitted his side had not played well and struggled to cope with the shock of conceding the first goal.

“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,” he told reporters.

“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 halftime that it was just one goal.

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