BELOHORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) – 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.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ian Ransom)