Argentina edge Chile 1-0 to seal Copa America quarter-final place

Argentina top the group with six points after two matches, with Canada in second on three following their 1-0 win over Peru earlier on Tuesday. Chile and Peru have one point each.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 05:07 IST

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New Jersey: Argentina became the first side to book passage into the Copa America quarter-finals after a late strike from Lautaro Martinez earned them a 1-0 Group A victory over Chile on Tuesday.

Argentina top the group with six points after two matches, with Canada in second on three following their 1-0 win over Peru earlier on Tuesday. Chile and Peru have one point each.

The loss extended Chile's winless streak against Argentina in the Copa America to 30 matches. Chile have won the Copa twice but have never beaten Argentina in regulation time at the tournament, getting the better of them on penalties in the final of the 2015 and 2016 editions.

There was little to separate the two in a cautious opening spell at MetLife Stadium but once Argentina got going it quickly turned into a one-sided contest.

Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Gonzalez tested keeper Claudio Bravo with tame efforts, while Rodrigo de Paul smashed a swerving right-foot effort just over the crossbar.

Captain Lionel Messi, who played a role in both of Argentina's goals in their opening win over Canada, was once again at his brilliant best and nearly opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a powerful low drive that hit the post.

Argentina kept up the pressure in the second half and Alexis Mac Allister was unable to connect with a pin-point free kick from Messi to spurn a gilt-edged opportunity.

Rodrigo Echeverria recorded Chile's first shot of the match in the 72nd minute, a powerful strike from distance which was kept out by Emiliano Martinez.

The Argentine goalkeeper, who barely had anything to do for over an hour, found himself called into action twice more over the next few minutes, keeping out efforts from Echeverria and Marcelino Nunez.

Just as it looked like the 15-times Copa America champions would be made to rue their missed chances substitute Martinez pounced on a rebound from a corner and lashed home a right-footed shot in the 88th minute to ensure victory and a top-two spot in the group.

The defending champions had the chance to kill the game off in stoppage time with a two-on-one break but Martinez fired a close range shot straight at Bravo.

Published 26 June 2024, 05:07 IST

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