WATCH: Lionel Messi nets spectacular free kick in Copa America opener

Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi has fired Argentina into a 1-0 half time lead in their 2021 Copa America Group B opener against Chile.

Lionel Scaloni’s side have looked impressive so far in the competition curtain raiser in Rio de Janeiro with Lautaro Martinez and Nico Gonazalez both wasting early chances to edge them in front.

However, Messi stepped up to provide the crucial breakthrough on 33 minutes, as the La Albiceleste talisman swerved home a brilliant free kick.

Argentina have continued to dominate before the break with a controversial end to the first 45 minutes.

Martinez claimed for a handball inside the box, after his snapshot appeared to catch Eduardo Vargas on the hand, but referee Wilmar Roldan turned down his request following a lengthy VAR check.

Messi is pushing to end his infamous trophy cabinet gap at senior international level this summer with Scaloni’s side facing old enemies Uruguay in their next group game this weekend.

Images via Getty Images

Tags Argentina Copa America Lionel Messi

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