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Messi scores penalty while Armani saves one in lucky draw for Argentina

REUTERS
  Kathmandu, Nepal      June 19 2019


BELO HORIZONTE, June 20: Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot to salvage a 1-1 draw for Argentina against Paraguay in the Copa America on Wednesday as his side rode their luck to cling on to hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Richard Sanchez put Paraguay ahead in the 37th minute after a lung-bursting run from Miguel Almiron before Messi levelled in the 57th minute after a handball by Paraguay’s Ivan Peris which no-one appealed for but was spotted by a VAR review.

Paraguay were awarded a spot-kick of their own a few minutes later but Derlis Gonzalez’s shot was saved by Argentina keeper Franco Armani, who was lucky to avoid a red card when he fouled Gonzalez outside his area at the end of the first half.

Argentina are still bottom of Group B with one point from two games but they could progress to the last eight with a win over third-placed Qatar in their final group game next Sunday.

Already-qualified Colombia lead the group on six points after beating Qatar 1-0 earlier on, with Paraguay second on two.