By Sab Osuji:
Arturo Vidal and Lionel Messi missed their opening penalty kicks as Chile won the COPA America Centenario in the early hours of Monday inside the magnificent Metlife Stadium, the United States of America, USA 4-2,Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
82,026 spectators were on hand as Chile retained the crown they won last year on home soil, beating Argentina in the same manner they did in 2015.
As was the case last year in Chile, the two teams had to resort to penalty kicks to sort each other out from the penalty spots after full time and extra time ended scoreless the explosive final, which saw the two sides reduced to 10 men in the first half.
It is the second consecutive time Chile will lift the trophy against Argentina’s 14 times and leaves Messi frustrated, having not won a major silverware in his reign as Argentina captain.
The last time Argentina won the trophy was in 1993, meaning the South American football power is without any silverware in 23 years.
Chile goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo emerged the hero on the night with strings of incredible saves to keep his side firmly into the game.
The most spectacular was going nearly the length of the post to finger tip substitute Sergio Aguero’s header from Lionel Messi free kick into corner.
He also saved one of the Argentines’ penalty kicks and was rewarded supremely with the Man of the Match award.
It was not entirely all tears for Argentina as goalkeeper Sergio Romero was rewarded with the Fair Play award.
Chile further swept the individual awards asn Bravo mounted the podium to collect the Golden Glove award.
Eduardo Vargas who scored six goals in the tournament was voted as the Golden Boot award winner just as Alexis Sanchez received the Golden Ball award of the tournament.