Angel di Maria and Ever Banega were on target as Argentina beat Chile 2 goals to 1 in a Group D encounter at the Copa America 2016.
The PSG winger grabbed a t-shirt which read ‘Granny, I will miss you so much’ to celebrate his goal. Di Maria’s grandmother died shortly before the game in Santa Clara. However, Lionel Messi was left on the bench as he recovers from a back injury he sustained towards the end of last season. Substitute Jose Fuenzalida grabbed a consolation for Chile in added time.
360nobs Match Ratings
Argentina: Romero 5, Mercado 5, Otamendi 6, Funes Mori 5, Rojo 5, Mascherano 5 , Augusto Fernandez 5, Banega 9, Gaitan 8 (Kranevitter 87), Higuain 6 (Aguero 73), Di Maria 9 (Lamela 80)
Booked (yellow card) : Di Maria, Rojo
Goals: Di Maria 51, Banega 59
Chile: Bravo 5, Isla 5, Medel 5, Jara 5, Mena 5 (Orellana 53, 5.5), Aranguiz 6 (Fuenzalida 82), Diaz 6, Vidal 5, Sanchez 6, Vargas 5 (Pinilla 68), Beausejour 5
Booked (yellow card) : Vidal, Isla, Medel
Goal: Fuenzalida 90
The first chance of the game fell to Nicolas Gaitan who was starting in place of Lionel Messi. Di Maria supplied a perfectly flighted ball from the right and the Benfica midfielder’s header clipped the top of the crossbar.
Argentina continued to apply more pressure and even created more chances but for all that, the best chance of the first half fell to Chile. Argentina’s defender, Ramiro Funes Mori’s mistake was nearly capitalised on, but Alexis Sanchez’s effort from 18 yards was too close to Sergio Romero, who made a stunning save to deny the Arsenal forward.
Argentina even began the second half better and it took just six minutes to open the scoring. Banega drove through the middle before playing Angel Di Maria down the left, and he fired low past Claudio Bravo at his near post.
It was then Di Maria’s turn to assist for the second goal, working his way through Chile’s defence and supplying Ever Banega, who fired past Bravo at his near post, this time with the aid of a small deflection.
in stoppage time Chile found a consolation goal when Romero came for a ball that he shouldn’t have, and substitute Jose Fuenzalida headed into the empty net.
In an interview after the game Di Maria cried, thanking his mother and his aunt for their support
He paid tribute to her with a message on his shirt revealed after his goal. ‘Granny, I will miss you so much.’
‘I wanted to play, my grandmother was so proud that I played for the national team,’ he said on television, in tears, after being awarded the man of the match award.