SANTA CLARA — With two goals in the opening 15 minutes of the second half the Copa America Favorites Argentina took down the defending champions Chile 2-1.
Here are the biggest takeaways of the game.
1. No Messi? No Problem
The biggest talking point heading into Monday night’s game was whether or not Lionel Messi was going to take part. Messi suffered a lower back injury in the warm-up game against Honduras. Despite his absence Argentina showed great capacity in finding space down the flanks and constantly put pressure on Chile up high and win balls in their opponents territory.
2. Higuain needs company
Although Argentina was great forcing mistakes by Chile and constantly having Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Gaitan get to the end line they lacked options off who to deliver the ball two since the Chilean defense did a good job of marking the Higuain the lone striker.
The only time Higuain was able to find space was when he moved toward the sideline but no one would step into the box.
3. Argentina seals win in 8 minutes
Argentina finally was able to take advantage of the constant imprecision of the Chilean back line in the 50th minute when Charles Aranguiz lost a ball in his own territory that led to a 3 on two situation for Argentina where Ever Banega set up Angel Di Maria who’s shot to the first post squeaked into the goal.
Eight minutes later Araguiz again lost the ball in the midfield leading to a 3-on-3 and this time it was Ever Banega who beat Claudio Bravo.
Argentina will try to ensure their qualification to the quarterfinals against Panama in Chicago on June 10. While Chile will try to get back on track against Bolivia in Foxborough.