Brazil blitz through Lionel Messi's Argentina and storm into the Copa America final
Brazil booked their place in the Copa America final, thanks to goals in either half from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino to defeat Argentina 2-0 on Wednesday morning.
The Copa America hosts put in a composed performance to deny their age-old rivals, who hit the woodwork twice as they attempted to get back into the contest.
Argentina created the first chance of note, as midfielder Leandro Paredes took aim from a full 45 yards out. The swirling shot curled just over the bar and had Brazil stopper Allison scrambling.
Still, it was Brazil who opened the scoring, cutting through the Argentinian backline with ease. Dani Alaves rode a number of tackles before a perfect no-look pass to Roberto Firmino.
The striker drilled the ball across the box to fellow attacker Gabriel Jesus who turned the ball into the net, past Armani to give the hosts the lead.
Argentina pushed hard to get a foothold in the contest and hit the woodwork eleven minutes later through the head of Sergio Aguero.
A smart free-kick from Leo Messi picked out the Manchester City attacker, yet his looping header had Allison beaten but agonizingly rattled the crossbar.
Lionel Scaloni’s side had a point to prove in the second half, and started brightly as Lautaro Martínez’s shot which he didn’t quite connect with was gathered by Allison, but the signs where there that La Albaceleste were more than capable of mounting a comeback.
Yet Brazil still remained a threat on the counter-attack, and just before the hour mark Phillipe Coutinho found himself in the Argentina box with time to shot, however, his effort flew well over.
Argentina was denied by the woodwork for a second time in the contest, as Lionel Messi latched onto a blocked shot by Lautaro Martinez, his first-time strike had Allison well beaten, yet it rebounded off the post.
Unperturbed the visitors continued to impress in their rivals and came close as Leo Messi’s free-kick looked bound for the top corner, but Allison was equal to it and plucked the ball into his arms.
That save would prove to be a turning point as Brazil killed off the tie thanks to the determination of Gabriel Jesus.
The Manchester City attacker broke up the pitch avoiding two challenges before squaring to Roberto Firmino, who applied the deftest of touches to put Brazil 2-0 up and into the Copa America final for the first time since 2007.