Argentina aren't 'Messi-dependent', claims Bauza

Sporting News

Edgardo Bauza does not believe Argentina are reliant on Lionel Messi after the captain and country's all-time leading goalscorer downed Chile.

Messi's first-half penalty settled Thursday's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier as Argentina edged South American champions Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires.

It was the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's 58th international goal, which helped Argentina move third in the standings - eight points adrift of leaders Brazil.

Asked about Messi's importance to Argentina, Bauza told reporters: "I do not think the team is Messi-dependent.

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"I think he played a good game. Time to work, we will improve."

Messi's 16th-minute spot-kick separated the two South American giants at the Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti.

The referee awarded a penalty after Jose Fuenzalida had brought down Angel Di Maria in the area.

Edgardo Bauza Lionel Messi Argentina Chile Eliminatorias Sudamericanas 2018
Edgardo Bauza Lionel Messi Argentina Chile Eliminatorias Sudamericanas 2018

Chile had a goal correctly ruled out for offside before Nicolas Otamendi missed a golden opportunity for Argentina.

Alexis Sanchez rattled the crossbar with a free-kick as Chile left empty-handed.

"I'm very happy because we won a game that came out as we imagined it," Bauza said.

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"For me, the team played a great game that contained a great team like Chile.

"We failed to recover the ball. We could not have it in the last 15 minutes. We won against a great rival.

"For me, we did not play a bad game."

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