Copa America Final: Chile Defeat Argentina 4-1on Penalties

Published 07/04/2015, 7:12 PM EDT


Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out in the final of the 44th edition of the Copa America to become champions for the first time in their history. The match could not be decided in the 120 minutes of open play, as both teams played out a 0-0 draw.

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At the start, both sides showed the ability to carve out openings in the final third. The first real sign of danger was shown by Argentina in the 7th minute of the game. Messi was picked out on the right hand side by Aguero with a little pocket of space in front of him. He played it in between the two Chile defenders to Aguero, whose shot was just blocked by Medel and the ball bobbled through to Bravo.

But the first shot on target came from Chile at the 13th minute mark when Vidal struck a strong volley by his left foot, but Sergio Romero made an intelligent save diving to his left. The crowd constantly roared in support of Chile, who kept the visitors under some pressure in the early stages of the match.

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Seven minutes later, Argentina won a free-kick on the right-hand side. Messi delivered a good ball into the penalty area which was met by Aguero’s head at the near post, only for Bravo to make a wonderful instinctive save.

Argentina suffered a big blow as Di Maria was substituted off at the 30 minute mark and Ezequiel Lavezzi came on for the Manchester United winger.

Lavezzi should have given Argentina the lead at the stroke of half-time. Pastore made a good run into the box and his cut-back found Lavezzi right on the edge of the box, who shot straight down the throat of Bravo.

The second half was mostly dominated by Argentina, but they couldn’t convert their domination into a goal. Playmaker Jorge Valdivia was considered as the go-to man for Chile throughout the Copa, but he was constantly fouled by the Argentina players and was substituted for Mati Fernandez in the 75th minute after having a quiet game.

Chile nearly took the lead in the 83rd minute of the match through Alexis Sanchez, who struck a volley just wide of the target from a difficult angle.

Gonzalo Higuain, who was substituted in for Sergio Aguero in the second half, almost won it for Argentina with the last kick of regulation time. Messi led a swift counter-attack for Argentina in the 92nd minute, and passed the ball to Lavezzi, who squared it towards the back post with Higuain running in. But the Napoli man could only manage to hit the post from the tightest of angles.

The first chance of the extra time came from an Argentina corner. Messi’s delivery was collected by Bravo was quick to clear it towards Sanchez. Mascherano made a huge mistake as he let the ball go beneath his legs through to Sanchez, who had acres of space in front of him. Sanchez shot just above the crossbar, as he was closed down quickly by Zabaleta.

With just six minutes left in the extra time, Chile wasted another opportunity, as Vidal excellently held onto the ball under pressure and passed it to Aranguiz at the edge of the box, only for the midfielder to slice his effort over the bar.

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Two minutes later, Argentina had a penalty claim as Lavezzi went down inside the penalty area, but the referee Wilmar Roldan waved away all the claims. The match ended 0-0 at the end of extra-time.

Chile didn’t miss a single penalty, scoring all four of their spot kicks. While Argentina’s Higuain missed it terribly as he kicked the ball into outer space, Banega’s penalty was saved brilliantly by Bravo that gave Chile the advantage. Sanchez slotted in the winning penalty in style, delicately finessed down the middle with Romero diving out of the way, after which the crowd in the Estadio Nacional went wild into celebrations.

On the other hand, there was another heart-break for Argentina, after their loss in the World Cup 2014 final a year ago. Lionel Messi was on the losing side of another major international final, and still Argentina have not won a single major international trophy.

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But it were the hosts Chile, who hosted a fantastic tournament and won it in style.

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Paritosh Gautam

121 articles

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