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Bauza: Argentina aren't dependent on Messi

Argentina are not dependent on star Lionel Messi, says head coach Edgardo Bauza.

Messi-cropped
Argentina captain Lionel Messi

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.

"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.

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.

"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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