Rodrigo De Paul claims Argentina were subjected to some rough off-field treatment from hosts Chile before their World Cup qualifier.
The midfielder said the Albiceleste were prevented from using the bathroom on arrival, had no air conditioning or water and were made to suffer the sound of sirens during their stay in Calama.
It did not appear to derail the visitors, already safely through to Qatar 2022, as they secured a 2-1 win despite the COVID-enforced absences of Lionel Messi and coach Lionel Scaloni.
“They didn’t even let us go to the bathroom when we got off the plane,” De Paul told reporters. “They cut off our air conditioners, we had no water and they made sirens sound throughout the stay.
“I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but, as an Argentine, every team that comes to my country, we have to make them feel as comfortable as possible and we have to win on the playing field where it belongs.”
Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz’s looping header as Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.
The victory improves second-placed Argentina’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.
Y ese toro enamorado de la redonda pic.twitter.com/ddXbkLIWmf
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) January 28, 2022
After a solid if unspectacular showing, assistant coach Walter Samuel was pleased to see how well the team coped despite being without talisman Messi.
“Sure there are things to improve, but the team showed character in a difficult environment,” he said.
“Messi is the leader of this team, but we were able to do very well without him. We lacked other guys because of Covid that we wanted to be there, but the team made a great effort and I want to thank them for that.
“The character of the boys is moving. All the players start from scratch and want to earn a place in the World Cup. There is healthy competition here.”