Off with the right foot

Argentina's national squad scored major 2-1 victory over Chile in the team's Copa America Centenario debut. Wihtout Messi, who is still recovering from injury, the white-and-cerulean outfit found its best game with a remarkable team performance. Di Maria and Banega scored the goals. Kun entered during the second half. The game had two clearly marked stages during the first and second half - during the first 45 minutes, both teams fought for dominance but created few opportunities, with a lot of the action taking place in the midfield - that is, even if Argentina had almost opened the score barely 3 minutes in when Gaitan's header hit the crossbar. During the second half, Kun's side was able to come out ahead on the scoreboard and widen their advantage, as the Chilean team had to take a more aggressive playstyle and allowed for Argentinean counterattacks. Messi was not on the field, but a brilliant Ever Banega and a phenomenal Angel Di Maria enabled Argentina to contest every single inch of field for possession. While solid in the defense and quick in the midfield, Sergio's team did not seem able to finish plays on the last third. However, a counterattack by Banega climaxed on a narrow-angled shot by Di Maria into the net, as he put the ball past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Overwhelmed by emotion, "Fideo" Di Maria dedicated the goal to his grandmother, who had passed in the last few hours before the match. Not many minutes afterwards, in a similar play, Ever Banega scored the second goal - courtesy of a booming left kick that scraped past Mauricio Isla's boot and ended up in the same corner as Di Maria's goal. Now two goals ahead, Chile started to take possession of the ball but could not find precision. The most threatening plays by Chile were dispelled by Sergio Romero, who was quick in answering their attempts. Kun entered the field at 74' - replacing Higuain - and created more opportunities to score but the team could not advance the lead. Nevertheless, during stoppage time, Fuenzalida made the most of a false step by Romero to set the more respectable 2-1 final result.


Argentina (2): Sergio Romero; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolás Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcos Rojo; Augusto Fernández, Javier Mascherano, Éver Banega; Ángel Di María (Erick Lamela, 80'), Gonzalo Higuaín (Sergio Agüero, 74') and Nico Gaitán (Matías Kranevitter, 87'). Chile (1): Claudio Bravo; Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara y Eugenio Mena (Fabián Orellana, min.54); Marcelo Díaz, Charles Aránguiz (José Fuenzalida, 82'), Arturo Vidal, Jean Beausejour; Alexis Sánchez and Eduardo Vargas (Mauricio Pinilla, 68').

Goals: 1-0, 51': Ángel di María; 2-0, 59': Éver Banega; 2-1, 93': Fuenzalida.

Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (Uruguay). Yellow cards: Arturo Vidal, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel and Jean Beausejour (Chile) and Ángel di María and Marcos Rojo (Argentina).

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