Lionel Messi and Argentina pay tribute to Diego Maradona in first match since legend’s death

Maradona, an Argentine icon and extensively thought of one of many biggest footballers of all time, died after suffering heart failure in November final yr.

In the fifth spherical of fixtures in South American World Cup qualifying, Argentina and Chile performed out a 1-1 draw in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, with Alexis Sanchez’s purpose canceling out Lionel Messi’s penalty.

“It [the match] is special, since it was the first without Diego,” Messi informed reporters after the sport.

“It would have been nice if there were people in the stadium to pay tribute to him, but what is happening in the country and worldwide is complex. We wanted the win and to represent the national team as Maradona used to do.”

Leo Messi celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Chile.

Ahead of kick-off, the nationwide staff and the federation president have been current for the revealing of the brand new Maradona statue exterior the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, the place Chile and Argentina performed on Thursday.

As the groups lined up on the pitch earlier than the match, the gamers wore pictures of Maradona on their shirts with the yr of his start — 1960 — and the infinity image in place of the yr of his death.

Chile players celebrate Alexis Sanchez's equalizer.

The draw meant Argentina missed the possibility to climb above Brazil on the high of the standings, whereas Chile stays in seventh.

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