Chile stun Argentina to win first Copa crown
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made a save and striker Alexis Sanchez converted the winning penalty as host Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in a shootout after a 0-0 draw in the Copa America final, finally winning its first major title.
Bravo stopped Ever Banega’s low shot by diving to his left to make the save, and earlier Gonzalo Higuain also missed for Argentina, sending his shot over the crossbar. The Chileans made all of their penalties.
The title comes as a reward for the nearly 50,000 Chileans who packed the Estadio Nacional, and to the nation’s best generation of players in years.
The result extends Argentina’s and Lionel Messi’s title drought. The national team hasn’t won a trophy in 22 years.
Chile defeated Argentina on penalties here to end their 99-year wait for a Copa America crown and condemn Lionel Messi to a second straight heartbreak in a major international final.
Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez struck the winning spot-kick for Chile, as the hosts clinched a 4-1 shoot-out victory when the game ended goalless after extra time yesterday.
Sanchez chipped the decisive penalty down the middle past Sergio Romero to spark wild celebrations in front of a 45,000 capacity crowd at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago.
Chile took control of the shoot-out when Gonzalo Higuain blazed his penalty over the bar before Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved Ever Banega’s spot-kick.
Argentina captain Messi, aiming to inspire the South American giants to a first international title in 22 years, could only look on distraught as Chile celebrated.
Chile’s win was their first ever victory over Argentina in the Copa America.
“It is a dream come true. We have worked so hard for this,” said Chile star Arturo Vidal.
The midfielder said Chile had been determined to win the Copa America after exiting the World Cup last year on penalties. “We talked about it in Brazil that we were going to win the Copa America,” Sanchez said. “This is really a great generation we deserve this.”
But it was another crushing loss for Messi, almost a year after Argentina lost the World Cup final to Germany in Brazil.
The game went to penalties after a hard-fought 120 minutes ended in stalemate, with neither side managing to unlock their opposite defence.
Chile started at a ferocious pace before Argentina gradually managed to gain a foothold in the game.
Messi, invariably tracked by two or three red jerseys throughout, almost played Sergio Aguero in with a superb pass after six minutes only for Chile to clear.