The host nation emerged winners of the 2015 Copa America after a tense 120 minutes of football with Claudio Bravo the hero
Host nation Chile finally won their first major trophy in history as they beat Argentina 4-1 on penalties in the Copa America final on Saturday in Santiago.
Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega missed from the spot in a shootout at Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos following a goalless 120 minutes, as Argentina failed to grab their first trophy in 22 years.
Higuain blasted high over the crossbar and fellow substitute Ever Banega’s tame effort was saved by Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, and Alexis Sanchez finished things off with a cheeky effort that gave Chile their first ever major trophy.
Defeat means the Albiceleste have now lost two of the last three Copa America finals and their captain Lionel Messi – the only Argentina player to score in the shootout – will have to wait to lift a major trophy at international level.
Chile started the game brighter with Eduardo Vargas firing wide early on and Arturo Vidal forcing a save from Ramero.
Argentina suffered a major blow when Angel Di María had an hamstring injury just before the half-hour mark and was replaced by Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Substitute Lavezzi had a great chance to score the opener when Aguero cut the ball back into his path just before half-time, but the PSG forward shot straight at Bravo.
Both sides lost pace in the final third but Alexis Sanchez almost made a moment of magic to win it when he showed great technique to volley just wide of the far post on 83 minutes.
Argentina were presented with one final chance to snatch victory in normal time right at the death when Lavezzi’s cross found Higuain who could only fire into the side-netting at full stretch beyond the back post.
The first half of extra time was a bit quiet but Alexis Sanchez had an opportunity when he raced away following a mistake from Javier Mascherano, but shot just over the crossbar under pressure from the covering Pablo Zabaleta.
Argentina thought they should have had a penalty when Lavezzi went down under a challenge from Francisco Silva with five minutes remaining, but the referee ignored and the game would be decided by penalties.
Matias Fernandez and Lionel Messi converted their teams’ first kicks but Higuain and Banega failed to score Argentina’s next two and Alexis Sanchez was on hand to seal the win for the Chileans.