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Copa America: Brazil Cruise Into Final After Beating Argentina

Host Brazil defeated Argentina 2-0 in the first semi-final of the Copa America in the early hours of Wednesday.

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool, scored in each half to send Brazil into Sunday’s final.

The defeat means Lionel Messi’s hopes of ending his long wait for a senior international trophy with Argentina goes on.

It was the first time the age-old rivals had met in a major competition since Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 in the 2007 Copa final.

The first chance of the game went to Argentina’s Leandro Paredes who let fly from 30 yards but the ball whistled just over the top of goalkeeper Alisson’s goal.

Brazil took the lead on 19 minutes after a piece of individual brilliance from Dani Alves who beat three players on a mazy run before sending Firmino clear down the right whose pass found the unmarked Jesus to tap home.

Argentina almost levelled on the half hour when Sergio Aguero headed Messi’s free-kick onto the bar, the ball bouncing down just in front of the line before Brazil scrambled it clear.

Messi then burst into life, driving at the heart of the Brazil defense and playing in Aguero, who took advantage of a Thiago Silva slip to make space for himself but Marquinhos was quickly across to block the striker’s shot.

Moments later, Messi beat two men on the right, won back the ball with a sliding tackle after overrunning it, but then wastefully shot high and wide.

Just as Argentina were beginning to look dangerous, Brazil stung them on the counter-attack with Jesus getting away from two defenders and setting up the unmarked Firmino for a tap in on 71 minutes.

 Brazil will play the winners of the second semi-final between champions Chile and Peru in Sunday’s final.

About Ademola Aderele

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