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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey: Substitute Lautaro Martinez grabbed an 88th-minute winner as Argentina eventually beat Chile 1-0 to book a place in the Copa America quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi hit the post for Argentina in the first half, but the World Cup winners had goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to thank for keeping them level before Lautaro’s late strike settled the pulsating clash in front of 82,000 fans at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

There were enough openings for the 15-time Copa America champions to take the lead much earlier, but a combination of poor finishing and an inspired performance from 41-year-old Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo kept the scoreline at bay.

The home of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants – and the venue for the 2026 World Cup finals – was transformed into Argentina’s home ground and an expectant crowd saw Messi and company dictate proceedings in the early stages.

Messi’s team-mate Julian Alvarez forced Bravo into a save in the 22nd minute with a first-time shot after Nicolas Gonzalez pulled the ball down from the touchline.

Chile did a good job of neutralizing Messi, closing him down with three men on occasions, but the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner was inches from a 36th-minute opener with a 25-yard shot that clipped the offside. the post office.

Bravo did well after the break to parry away a blast at the near post from Nahuel Molina before showing great reactions to push Nicolas Gonzalez’s wild drive against the post.

But Chile threatened on the counter and Emiliano Martinez twice had to be at his best to deny Rodrigo Echeverria’s runs.

But the decisive moment came when Chile failed to clear Messi’s corner and Lautaro Martinez pounced on the winner.

Lautaro should have added a second after a breakaway from Angelo Di Maria, but in the end the solitary goal was enough to make it two wins from two for the World Cup winners and book a place in the next round with the minimum to play.

In other Copa America action on Tuesday, Jonathan David scored the only goal as Canada reignited their campaign with a 1-0 win over Peru in steamy Kansas City.

Lille striker David, who is reportedly being targeted by Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea, again showed his eye for goal with a superb finish to secure all three points for Canada against 10-man Peru at Children’s Mercy Park Stadium.

In a match played in the scorching afternoon sun – with temperatures on the field reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) – one of the two assistant referees collapsed with apparent heat exhaustion just before halftime.

Canada, beaten 2-0 by Argentina in their tournament opener last week, took the lead in the second half after Peru were reduced to 10 men after Miguel Araujo was sent off for a wild foul on substitute Jacob Shaffelburg that sparked an uproar. mela among the players from both teams.

Referee Mario Escobar initially only gave Araujo a yellow card for his nasty challenge on Shaffelburg, but the penalty was increased after a VAR review.

That dismissal tipped the tight game in Canada’s favor, and the breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute with a goal by David on a sweeping Canadian counterattack.

Left winger Shaffelburg played the first time with a sensational cross pass to David, who touched without breaking stride and then finished with a right-footed finish into the bottom corner past Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru pressed forward looking for an equalizer but Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau denied Christian Cueva with a fine reflex save with one hand to turn away the volley and save Paolo Guerrero’s injury-time free kick.

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