Copa América: Ben Brereton caps full Chile debut with winner against Bolivia

Ben Brereton enjoyed a dream full debut for Chile, as his early strike sealed a 1-0 win over Bolivia in their Copa América match in Cuiabá.

The Blackburn forward was born in Stoke and played for England at youth level, but is eligible to play for La Roja because his mother was born in Chile. Brereton made his debut from the bench against Argentina in their Group B opener, but started here and fired Chile ahead with just 10 minutes on the clock.

Brereton, a popular figure with fans on social media, got on the end of a counter-attack and coolly slotted the ball home from the edge of the penalty area. The 22-year-old also forced Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe into two good saves in the first half alone, and proved a handful for the opposition defence until he was substituted seven minutes from time.

Bolivia were without five players who tested positive for Covid-19, including top goalscorer Marcelo Martins, and fell to their second straight loss after an opening 3-1 defeat to Paraguay. Chile’s Eduardo Vargas thought he had scored a second in injury time but his effort was ruled out for offside.

In the later game Argentina beat Uruguay, making Lionel Messi’s team co-leaders of Group A with Chile with four points each. Midfielder Guido Rodriguez scored the only goal at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasília with a header in the 13th minute after Messi crossed from the left. The ball hit goalkeeper Fernando Muslera’s right post before going in.

Seeking some defensive solidity, Argentina changed nearly all of their back four after the 1-1 draw with Chile. Right-back Gonzalo Montiel, defender Lucas Martinez Quarta and left-back Nicolas Tagliafico were replaced by Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero and Marcos Acuna, respectively. Nicolas Otamendi was the only defender who remained. Rodriguez replaced injured Leandro Paredes.

Argentina controlled nearly all of the game against an Uruguaya team that included the powerful offensive duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Argentina’s next match will be against Paraguay on Monday, the same day that Uruguay will play their second match in the tournament against Chile. A victory could move Argentina into first place in their group and avoid an early knockout-stage meeting with defending champions Brazil.

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