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first_imgBoth sides were reduced to 10 men in the first half as Brazilian referee Heber Lopes struggled to get a grip on an ill-tempered contest played in front of a crowd of 82,026.The first yellow card of the match came in the 16th minute when Marcelo Diaz brought down Messi with a cynical hack across the thighs as the Barcelona star advanced on the Chilean goal.Argentina should have taken the lead on 21 minutes when a defensive blunder from Gary Medel, miscontrolling a back pass, allowed Gonzalo Higuain to go clean through on goal. Higuain had time and space but opted to lift his shot over the advancing Claudio Bravo and it rolled wide of the post in a huge let-off for Chile.It was a nightmarish case of deja vu for Higuain, who missed potentially match winning chances in both the 2014 World Cup final and last years Copa America.Seven minutes later Chile were left rocking when Messi burst forward only to be bodychecked blatantly by Diaz, who collected a second yellow to see red.It ought to have been a warning to both sides but the spiteful tone continued for the remainder of the half, with Javier Mascherano and Arturo Vidal next into the book in the 37th minute.The next flare-up came on 40 minutes when Messi darted into the box at high speed and tumbled over following a collision with Jose Pedro Fuenzalida.Chiles players surrounded Lopes demanding a yellow card for a dive and Messi was duly booked. Two minutes from half-time and Lopes was reaching for a red card, this time sending off Manchester Uniteds Marcos Rojo for a reckless tackle on Vidal.advertisementThe cards continued in a fractious start to the second half, Jean Beausejour booked for hacking at Gabriel Mercado.A cynical foul on Messi by Charles Aranguiz resulted in another yellow card.Chile striker Eduardo Vargas went close on the 80th minute, thumping a fierce low shot that Romero did well to block at his near post.Sergio Aguero had a chance to steal victory in the 84th minute when he was worked into space on the right of the box but he blazed his shot high and wide. AFP AH AHlast_img read more

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