Copa America 2016: Argentina 2-1 Chile - Five Talking Points
Reigning Copa America champions Chile saw their title defense begin on a low note as they were beaten 2-1 by Argentina, who were without their talisman, Lionel Messi.
After a series of near-misses, La Albiceleste finally broke the deadlock through Andel di Maria 6 minutes into the second half and doubled their lead shortly after as Ever Banega’s effort took a slight deflection before finding the back of the net.
La Roja, who were limping for most of the game, found a late consolation through Jose Pedro Fuenzalida but slumped to a worrying fifth defeat in their last 6 games as Argentina gained a measure of revenge for the heart-break in last year’s final.
Here are some of the points to ponder from the high-profile clash in Santa Clara.
#1 No Messi, no problem for Argentina
The biggest news prior to the kick-off was that of Lionel Messi missing out on the re-match of last year’s Copa final on account of the back problem he picked up in a friendly against Honduras just 4 days ago. The Barcelona ace was although seated on the bench as manager Gerard Martino opted against taking any risks and rested him from the clash altogether.
Regardless, Argentina comfortably sailed to a victory having dominated the clash for large spells of the game.
After missing a couple of good chances in the first half, The Argentines came out storming again in the second and found the breakthrough when Angel di Maria slotted past Claudio Bravo at the far post after being sent through on goal by Ever Banega. The Sevilla star then got on the scoresheet himself just 8 minutes later when he netted from the same angle, albeit with some help from a deflection.
With some top dogs like Brazil and Uruguay faltering in the absence of their star mans Neymar and Suarez respectively, Argentina, contrastingly, were unpurturbed sans skipper Messi and showed there is more to the team than just him.