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

Maradona, an Argentine icon and extensively thought-about 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 objective canceling out Lionel Messi’s penalty.

A 16-foot-5-inch tall statue of late football legend Diego Maradona is unveiled at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades.

“It [the match] is particular, since it was the first with out Diego,” Messi advised reporters after the sport.

“It would have been good if there have been individuals in the stadium to pay tribute to him, however what is going on in the nation and worldwide is complicated. We needed the win and to characterize the nationwide staff 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 disclosing 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 photos 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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