Argentina ended their 28-year wait to lift the Copa America after Angel Di Maria’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory over Brazil in Saturday’s final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The midfielder of Paris Saint-Germain
Di Maria who was made the starting line-up for the final, calmly criticized Brazil goalkeeper Ederson to score the winning goal in the 22nd minute.
Argentina have been Copa America’s runners-up in four of their last seven tournaments, losing to rivals Brazil in 2004 and 2007, but finally won the country’s 15th continental title.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner throughout the tournament won with the most goals (four) and the most assists (five), winning the first piece of silver lining with Argentina.
In the physical fight, Brazilian superstar Neymar caught a lot of attention as Messi could not surpass his normal influence in La Albiceleste.
Brazil got off to a better start, but Argentina could only manage a goal-scoring effort from Everton and Richarlison before hitting the run.
Outstanding Rodrigo de Paul’s optimistic ball forward to De Maria also left behind left-arm Renan Lodi and he calmly looked at the aggressive Ederson.
De Maria was threatened in the first half, with Messi blocking Marquinhos’ left-footed effort before wide.
With Roberto Firmino’s half-time injection, Brazil held on until Richarlison hit the back of the net in the 52nd minute but they were offside in the lead-up.
Everton forward Argentina defender Emiliano Martinez was tested in his near post by the Aston Villa man who saved the man smartly.
In the 81st minute of the match, the heat of the match increased when the Argentine defender gave a dangerous challenge to Neymar.
All the Brazilian players ran up to Otamandi.
The referee showed yellow cards to Otamundi for a dangerous foul and to Brazilian defender Marquinhos for pushing Otamundi.
Gabriel Barbosa, the Brazilian substitute aerial shot was saved by Martinez, before tired Messi rejected a golden opportunity to secure the victory from De Paul’s pass.