Rio de Jeneiro, July 11 (MNN) Argentina pipped Brazil 1-0 to become CONMEBOL Copa América champions after an international title eluded them for 28 years.
The historic Ángel Di María, with an exquisite finish, scored the only goal of the game following a superb pass from Rodrigo De Paul, one of the stars of the final.
From the very start of the high-octane match at the Estadio Maracaná, understandably given the magnitude of the occasion, the game was tight and feisty.
A lot of strong tackles, competitive play and few early chances on goal marked the clash of the football titans.
Halfway through the first half, with little warning, Argentina struck, finding the net with what proved to be the decisive goal on the night.
Rodrigo De Paul launched an inch perfect pass, Di María turned his marker Renan Lodi, and lifted a perfect lobbed volley over Ederson. A great goal to make it 1-0.
Di María once again threatened the Brazilian defence on the 28th minute, cutting inside from the left to strike with Marquinhos blocking the effort.
On 32 minutes it was the turn of Lionel Messi, who had been uncharacteristically quiet in the opening 45, to threaten with a dangerous strike from outside the area.
Brazil, on the other hand, ended the first half with few efforts on Emiliano Martínez’ goal.
Everton, Paquetá and Neymar had been kept quiet by the Argentine defence. Tite took his side in the break looking to inspire a revival while Lionel Scaloni had to prepare for a likely second half Brazilian response.
As expected, after the break Brazil emerged with fresh energy and purpose.
Richarlison worked some dangerous chances cutting inside from wide areas. The Everton found the net but was denied by a correct offside call from the assistant. Shortly after he was denied once again, this time by a smart save from Martínez.
Gradually, Argentina were pushed further back towards their own goal and things were starting to look a little precarious.
Roberto Firmino came on for Fred in attack to give Argentina another dangerous, unpredictable forward to contend with.
However, after a worrying start to the half, Argentina began to steady themselves and despite a lot of possession, Brazil were unable to create that decisive opening.
Brazil pushed and substitute Gabriel Barbosa came close but Emiliano Martínez once again kept the ball with a sharp sae.
Later on Argentina looked as though they would add a second on the counter but it wasn’t to be.
First, Messi slipped and missed a clear chance one on one with the goalkeeper following another excellent De Paul pass. Then the impressive De Paul himself had a huge chance but failed to beat Ederson.
And as minutes ticked away, Argentina fans could celebrate in wild elation, sensing an international title win after a long wait.