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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey: Substitute Lautaro Martinez scored the winner in the 88th minute as Argentina finally beat Chile 1-0 and booked a place in Tuesday’s Copa America quarterfinals.

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

The 15-time Copa America champions had enough chances to break the score early, but a combination of poor finishing and an inspiring performance from 41-year-old Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo meant the result was a stalemate.

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

Messi’s partner Julian Alvarez forced Bravo to make a save in the 22nd minute with his first shot after Nicolas Gonzalez had pulled the ball away from the byline.

Chile did well to neutralize Messi, closing him down with three players at times, but the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner was inches away from attacking in the 36th minute after a 25-yard shot that went wide of the outside of the goal. Post.

Bravo did well after the break to parry Nahuel Molina’s shot at the near post and then showed a great reaction time to ferociously hit Nicolas Gonzalez’s shot onto the crossbar.

However, Chile threatened on the counter-attack and Emiliano Martinez twice had to be at his best to deny Rodrigo Echeverria’s passes.

However, the decisive moment came when Chile failed to clear Messi’s corner and Lautaro Martinez pounced to grab the winner.

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

In Tuesday’s other Copa America match, Jonathan David scored the only goal as Canada resumed its campaign with a 1-0 victory over Peru in a sweltering Kansas City.

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

In a match played in the blazing afternoon sun – with pitch temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius – just before half-time, one of the two assistant referees collapsed from apparent heat exhaustion.

Canada, having lost 2-0 to Argentina in the first match of the tournament last week, took the lead in the second half after Peru played with ten men after Miguel Araujo was sent off for a brutal foul on substitute Jacob Shaffelburg, sparking a brawl between players of both teams.

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

This dismissal turned the game in Canada’s favor, and the breakthrough came in the 74th minute when David scored after a strong Canadian counter-attack.

Left winger Shaffelburg made a sensational first pass into the penalty area to David, who took one touch of the ball without breaking stride, and then shot a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the goal past Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru pressed forward in search of an equalizer, but Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau prevented Christian Cueva from saving a volley with his good reflexes with one hand, and then Paolo Guerrero saved a free kick in stoppage time.

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