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Copa America 2016: Argentina stun defending champions Chile 2-1

Defending Copa America champions Chile suffered a 2-1 loss to Argentina in a much talked about encounter in California
Argentina's Angel Di Maria celebrates a goal

Argentina took control with two second-half goals to defeat rival Chile 2-1 in a marquee football match-up of two world powers. Paris Saint-Germain forward Angel Di Maria scored in the 54th minute and Ever Banega was credited with his team’s second goal five minutes later here on Monday.

Argentina, a 14-time Copa America champions and the world’s top-ranked football team going into this year’s tournament, played without superstar Lionel Messi, who was on the bench but did not enter the match.

Di Maria’s goal came off a pass from Banega, who’d intercepted a pass and dribbled up-field before the assist. Banega gave Argentina a cushion when his shot was slightly re-directed by Chile defender Mauricio Isla and past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Chile, last year’s Copa America champion on their home soil, entered the match as the fifth-ranked national team. They cut the lead in half on Jose Pedro Fuenzalida’s goal just before the final whistle, but ran out of time.

The two teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half, but both had chances to score.

Marcos Rojo missed a header wide in the 23rd minute for Argentina, and Chile’s Alexis Sanchez had his shot saved by Sergio Romero in the 30th minute and a free kick stopped in the 34th.

Group D action continues Friday when Argentina faces co-leader Panama in Chicago and Chile plays Bolivia in Foxborough.

IANS

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