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The Daily Hilario: Argentina 2-0 Chile, The Angel Di Maria Show

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Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

MATCH REPORT:

On Monday night, I trekked down to the Bay Area once again, to take in my second match at this year's Copa America.  Since this has nothing to do with Chelsea — other than transfer rumors for one Gonzalo Higuaín — I'll write about it here while I wait for the stadium (and the roads) to empty.

I was hoping Messi would play, but apparently he's hurt or tired or they were just afraid that he would get kicked to pieces by Chile, so he only got a place on the bench.  I saw him warm-up with the likes of Aguero and Lavezzi and Lamela, and that was alright.

Even without Messi and Aguero (who was also tired or some such) in the starting lineup, Argentina didn't have any problems creating chances.  The front four of Di Maria (especially), Banega, Gaitan, and Higuain regularly sliced through Chile's wings and midfield but somehow they failed to convert those chances into goals in the first half.  The second was a different story, as first Di Maria, then Banega (exchanging assists as well) beat Claudio Bravo at his near post.  In fairness, the second goal took a major deflection, but Bravo certainly could've done better on Di Maria's (quick-shot) effort that seemed to catch him on his heels.  Great win and pass by Banega to get it started.  Di Maria (my man of the match, fwiw) dedicated the goal to his grandmother (the message on the shirt he grabs in celebration), who had passed away last night.

In defense, Argentina were far from solid and outside of Mascherano effectively cleaning up a few times, Otamendi and Funes Mori were ineffective at stopping Chile's attacks.  Alexis especially looked dangerous, while Arturo Vidal, who seemed to be playing everywhere, posed all sorts of problems.  But Chile's final ball/touch/shot/run/etc was never quite good enough and thus their threat often evaporated without Argentina doing much at all.  They did grab a consolation goal with the final kick of the match, but it was too little too late.

So, 2-1 to the Albiceleste, who also won the battle of the fans in a sold out Levi's Stadium (and this time it actually looked sold out, unlike Friday night).  With their toughest game of the group out of the way, Argentina can take it easy and waltz into the second round with matches against Panama and Bolivia.  Chile really shouldn't have much problem with those two either; with a bit more luck, they could've scored a fair few more today.

Friday's USA vs. Colombia match was one of the worst I've had the privilege to see live and in person in some time.  This one, especially as far as internationals are concerned, was one of the better ones.  End-to-end action, plenty of incidents, plenty of passion (props to Vidal to managing to come off tilt and not get sent off), plenty of entertainment.  Unfortunately no Messi (Aguero did make a substitute appearance), but I guess you can't have everything.

FOOTBALL (all times BST):
08.00:  Kirin Cup, 3rd place:  Denmark vs. Bulgaria
11.30:  Kirin Cup, final:  Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Japan
19.45:  Int'l friendly:  Spain vs. Georgia
01.00 (next day):  Copa America:  USA vs. Costa Rica
03.30 (next day):  Copa America:  Colombia vs. Paraguay