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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey: Substitute Lautaro Martinez grabbed an 88th-minute winner as Argentina eventually beat Chile 1-0 to book their place in the Copa America quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi hit the post for Argentina in the first half but the World Cup winners had goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to thank for keeping them level before Lautaro’s late strike settled a pulsating clash in front of 82,000 fans at the stadium MetLife of New Jersey.

There were enough openings for the 15-time Copa America champions to make progress much earlier, but a combination of poor finishing and an inspired performance from 41-year-old Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo left the score deadlocked.

The home of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants – and the final site of the 2026 World Cup – was transformed into a home ground for Argentina, and the expected crowd saw Messi and company dictate proceedings in the early stages.

Messi’s strike partner Julian Alvarez forced Bravo into a save in the 22nd minute with a first-time shot after Nicolas Gonzalez cleared the ball from the touchline.

Chile were doing a good job of neutralizing Messi, closing him down with three players on chances, but the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner was inches away from opening in the 36th minute with a 25-yard shot that cut the outside of the bar.

Bravo did well after the break, parrying a blast at Nahuel Molina’s near post and then showed great reactions to push a fierce Nicolas Gonzalez drive against the bar.

Still, Chile threatened on the counter and twice Emiliano Martinez had to be at his best to deny Rodrigo Echeverria chances.

But the decisive moment came when Chile failed to clear a corner from Messi and Lautaro Martinez swooped in to grab the winner.

Lautaro should have added a second after a break from Angel Di Maria, but in the end the solitary goal was enough to make it two wins from two for the World Cup winners and book their place in the next round with a game left.

In other Copa America action on Tuesday, Jonathan David scored the only goal as Canada reignited their campaign with a 1-0 win over Peru in sweltering Kansas City.

Lille striker David, who is reportedly being targeted by Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea, once again showed his willingness to score with a cool finish to secure all three points for Canada against 10-man Peru at Children’s Mercy Park.

A match played in the scorching afternoon sun – with pitch temperatures heading towards 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) – saw one of the two assistant referees collapse, apparently from heat exhaustion, just before of break.

Canada, beaten 2-0 by Argentina in their tournament opener last week, took the lead in the second half after Peru were reduced to 10 men following Miguel Araujo’s dismissal for a wild foul on substitute Jacob Shaffelburg. which sparked a melee between players from both teams.

Referee Mario Escobar initially only gave Araujo a yellow card for his nasty challenge at Shaffelburg, but the penalty was increased after a VAR review.

That elimination tipped a tight game in Canada’s favor, and the breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute with David’s goal on a spectacular Canadian counterattack.

Left-winger Shaffelburg first played a sensational cross-field pass to David, who took one touch without breaking stride and then buried a right-footed finish into the bottom corner past Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru went ahead in search of an equaliser, but Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau denied Christian Cueva with a fine reflex save with one hand to parry a volley before saving Paolo Guerrero’s free-kick in extra time.

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