Chile ends the drought as Alexis Sanchez brings home the Copa America 2015 Trophy. Chilean Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made a save and striker Alexis Sanchez converted the winning penalty as host Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in the Copa America final on Saturday.
Bravo stopped Ever Banega’s low shot by diving to his left to make the save and, earlier, Gonzalo Higuain also missed for Argentina, sending his shot over the crossbar.
The Chileans made all of their penalties.
The title rewarded the nation’s best generation of players in years, in front of nearly 50,000 Chileans who packed the Estadio Nacional.
The result extended Argentina’s and Lionel Messi’s title drought. The national team hasn’t won a trophy in 22 years, and Messi will continue to hear criticism for his lackluster play with the national team when it needs him the most.
Chile hadn’t made it to a final in 28 years, when it lost to Uruguay in the Copa America in Argentina. It finished runner-up four times, including at home in 1955. Its best result at a World Cup was a third-place finish at home in 1962, and last year it reached the round of 16, being eliminated by host Brazil on penalties.
It was an even final from the start, with the teams creating few scoring chances. Chile controlled possession during most of the second half and came closer than Argentina to getting on the board.
Sanchez had one of the game’s best opportunities in the 82nd, but his close-range shot missed wide.
Argentina’s greatest chance came in the last play of regulation in a breakaway that started with Messi near midfield, but Higuain hit the outside of the net after a dangerous cross into the area.
In extra time, it was Sanchez who almost scored in a counterattack after Javier Mascherano misplayed a ball near midfield, but his right-footed shot missed the target.
In the shootout, Matias Fernandez, Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz all netted for Chile before Sanchez’s winner, while Messi scored Argentina’s lone goal in the team’s first attempt.