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Even without star Lionel Messi, Argentina defeats Chile in Copa opener
0:54 | Planet Futbol
Even without star Lionel Messi, Argentina defeats Chile in Copa opener
Tuesday June 7th, 2016

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Lionel Messi will be healthy enough to play Argentina’s match against Panama on Friday, manager Gerardo Martino told ESPN FC.

Messi sat out of Argentina’s 2–1 win over Chile in their Copa America Centenario opener on Monday. He sustained a back injury during a friendly against Honduras on May 27, and had not been participating in full training with the team for the two sessions prior to the match as he rehabbed the injury.

“Everything has to do with [Messi] being healthy, in a good condition to play the next game,” Martino said through a translator. “He had a very hard blow versus Honduras. After the trip he started working in Barcelona. He was working in the physical aspect a lot. He continued working here. He is kicking the ball better now. We expect that in four days he will be in condition to play. We're thinking that he will recover by then.”

• CREDITOR: Argentina, sans Messi, makes Copa America statement vs. Chile

Argentina will play Panama at 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday before continuing group play against Bolivia on Tuesday.

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