Argentina aren't 'Messi-dependent', claims Bauza

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The Barcelona superstar netted the winning goal from the penalty spot to edge out Chile in a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier for his country

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.

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"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.

Edgardo Bauza Lionel Messi Argentina Chile Eliminatorias Sudamericanas 2018

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.

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"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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