Argentina overcome resilient Canada to book Finals spot

by Ben Ayuko

{image by Getty images}

Argentina secured their spot in the Copa América final after a comprehensive 2-0 victory over a stubborn Canadian side.

It always felt as though La Albiceleste would have too much quality for the Canadian side, and it didn’t really take long for us to see it. It was in the 22nd minute when Argentina midfielder, Rodrigo de Paul, received the ball on a swivel in midfield before playing an inch-perfect through pass onto the feet of the running Julian Alvarez. The Centre-forward took it expertly with his first touch and eloquently finished it right through the goalkeeper’s legs with his second to give Argentina the 1-0 lead.

Canada tried to put up a fight, with touted Chelsea signing, Jonathan David, in particular latching onto a long throw in by right-back Alistair Johnston and trying to tuck it into the near post of the Argentina goal. Argentina goalkeeper, Emi Martinez, however, was on hand to make a good save and deny them the opportunity. 1-0 into the break with Argentina 45minutes away from securing progression into the final.

The 2nd half promised to offer more of the same action as Les Rouges seemed determined to take the game to Argentina. There being only a goal in it, Argentina needed to make sure they put the game to bed before they found themselves in yet another penalty shoot-out. And so, no sooner had the 2nd half kicked off than Argentina doubled their lead. It was in the 51st minute when some brilliant work from Lionel Messi down the right wing opened the opportunity for Enzo Fernandes to have a shot at goal. Messi, who had made the pass and kept running toward goal, found himself right in the path of the effort, electing to get a touch on it and deflect it away from the diving Maxime Crépeau, making it a more difficult chance to save.

2-0 to the good, Argentina saw out the game expertly and booked themselves a spot in the finals, awaiting their opponent who would dare challenge them for the cup of the Américas.

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