Copa America: Chile frustrated after stop-start draw

Peru held them in a goalless draw as Argentina kicked off in style with a 2-0 win over Canada

Afp June 23, 2024


Chile and Peru missed the chance to take a big step toward Copa America quarter-final qualification on Friday night, playing out a dour 0-0 draw in their Group A opener in Arlington, Texas.

The teams, who have each won two Copa America titles, were striving to join Argentina on three points after the defending champions' 2-0 victory over Canada, whose qualification hopes have also been boosted by the draw.

The stalemate reflected the struggles of Chile and Peru in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying, where they have jointly managed just four goals across 12 matches. Chile's Alexis Sanchez squandered the game's best opportunity in the 16th minute.

The former Inter Milan and Arsenal forward missed a golden opportunity when he received Victor Davila's low cross in the six-yard box, only to send his effort soaring over the crossbar.

"They started aggressively. I had two chances and this is the Copa America and you have to make them," Sanchez said. "We were imprecise in our passes, we played only one game before coming here."

Chile showed more attacking flair but failed to execute the crucial final pass in a first half marred by injuries, with Peru's Luis Advincula subbed off in the 35th minute and Chilean midfielder Diego Valdes being replaced at half-time.

Peru's Miguel Araujo nearly broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute, forcing Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo into an acrobatic save with a well-connected header from Sergio Pena's free kick.

Despite Peru's striker Gianluca Lapadula creating the most dangerous moments of the second half, he failed to seriously challenge Bravo.

His most promising chance came in the 57th minute, when a deflection fell to him, but his slip resulted in a weak shot easily saved by Bravo.

In the 79th minute, his volley from Pena's corner forced Bravo into another save, and the keeper managed to collect the rebound just in time to prevent a second attempt.

"I think we played a great game and, with that attitude, we can take any game forward," Lapadula said. "The first half was much more defensive and the second much more offensive. I had two clear chances and we have to keep working like that. I think we played a great game and it will be our start."

Bravo's performance in goal capped a special night for the former Barcelona and Manchester City goalkeeper, who at 41 years, 2 months and 16 days became the oldest-ever Copa America player. Chile next face group leaders Argentina in New Jersey on Tuesday, while Peru take on Canada in Kansas City.

Canada probes online racist abuse

Canada Soccer said they were in touch with the sport's governing bodies after one of their players received racist abuse online following their 2-0 loss to Argentina in the Copa America opener on Thursday.

Canada Soccer did not reveal the player's name but centre back Moise Bombito, who is Black, received abuse online following a crunching tackle on Lionel Messi where he caught the Argentina skipper on the ankle.

"Canada Soccer is aware of and deeply disturbed by racist comments made online and directed at one of our men's national team players following tonight's match," it said in a statement. "We are in communication with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL about this matter," it said, referring to the soccer governing bodies for the Americas.

Posting on social media after the match, Bombito wrote: "My beautiful Canada," adding a heart emoji. "No room for that bs." CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North, Central America and the Caribbean, said they will investigate the accounts that posted the material.

"We stand with Canada Soccer in condemning the disgraceful media posts aimed at Moise Bombito. Racism has no place in our sport or in society," it said in a statement.

CONMEBOL also issued a statement in support of the player and echoed CONCACAF's actions, stating that they will act according to the necessary parameters with those who decide to act outside the rules of coexistence.

 "Our organisation works permanently in the evolution of a new culture that eradicates expressions of racism, offensive content on social networks and any kind of violence or discrimination around our football," it said. 


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