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Lautaro Martínez Sends Argentina Into Copa América Quarterfinals

Lautaro Martínez Sends Argentina Into Copa América Quarterfinals

Lautaro Martínez’s late goal against Chile was enough to send Argentina and Lionel Messi into their 12th-straight Copa América quarterfinals.

Defending Champions Argentina qualified for the quarterfinals with their second win of the tournament, thanks to substitute Lautaro Martínez’s 88th-minute goal.

The result was tight and captain Messi needed treatment from physios during the first half.

“It’s bothering me a bit, but I was able to finish the match,” Messi said, speaking in the post-match mixed zone. “I hope it’s nothing serious. It was hard for me to move freely. Tomorrow we’ll see how I feel.”

Messi still had a great game, hitting the post in the first half. 

“We knew it would be very physical,” he said. “All the games are physical, and Chile is tough. They had a lot on the line … but we achieved our objective, winning and we’re into the quarterfinals.”

Argentina is the first nation to qualify from the groups, with one game still to play, facing Peru in Miami on Saturday.

“We deserved to win,” coach Lionel Scaloni said. “The game wasn’t easy. We won it at the moment you least expected it. The team kept believing and attacking. The win is deserved because Argentina made all the effort, but it was very tough.”

Chile will need to beat Canada in their last group game to qualify for the next round after Canada beat Peru 1-0 earlier on Tuesday.

“Lautaro and Julian can play together,” Scaloni said. “It’s about finding a balance. Today, Lautaro scored the goal. He’s the first who’s happy. Julian is the second and I’m the third.”

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