AgrievingAngelDiMariawastheinspirationasArgentinashruggedofftheabsenceofLionelMessitodefeatholdersChile2-1intheiropeningCopaAmericaCentenariogameonMonday。

ParisSaint-GermainstarDiMaria–reelingfromthedeathofhisgrandmotheronlyhoursearlier–scoredonegoalandsetupanotherasthetwo-timeworldchampionsavengedtheirdefeattoChileinlastyearsCopaAmericafinal。

DiMariaopenedthescoringon51minutesandemotionallyheldaT-shirtuptotheskyemblazonedwiththemessage:Grandma,Iwillmissyousomuch。

MomentslaterDiMariathensetupArgentinassecondforEverBanega,tocompleteaman-of-the-matchperformance。

Ihadtoplay,Iwantedtoplay,mygrandmotherwassoproudthatIplayedforthenationalteam,DiMariasaidduringapost-matchtelevisioninterviewbeforebreakingdownintears。

ArgentinacoachGerardoMartinorevealedafterwardsDiMariahadkepthislossasecretfromhim。

NaijaandBet

Ijustlearnedthatfiveminutesagothathisgrandmotherdied,Martinosaid。

Hedidnttellmeanything,hewasfeelingwelltoplay。

DiMariasvirtuosodisplaysecuredadeservedthreepointsforArgentina,whowillnowfancytheirchancesoftoppingGroupDwithgamesagainstPanamaandBoliviatocome。

ChilesubstituteJoseFuenzalidascoredaninjurytimeconsolationfortheholders。

InjuredArgentinacaptainMessiwatchedfromthesubstitutesbenchatLevisStadiumafterfailingtorecoverintimefromasorebacksufferedinafriendlywinoverHonduraslastmonth。

ButtheBarcelonasuperstarsabsencewasbarelynoticeable,withNicolasGaitanslottingintoArgentinasattackandmakinganinstantimpression,hittingthewoodworkwithaheaderafteronlytwominutes。

ArgentinadominatedtheearlyexchangesbeforeChile,fieldingthecoreoftheirvictoriousCopaAmericaside,graduallygrewintothegame。

Chilecameclosesttobreakingthefirsthalfdeadlockinthe30thminute,whenAlexisSanchezburstontoalayofffromArturoVidaltogoinongoal。

TheArsenalforwardpickedhisspotandshotlowbutArgentinekeeperSergioRomerowasequaltothechallenge,savingbrilliantlytodenyChile。

SanchezdrewanothersavefromRomeroinabrightChileanstarttothesecondhalfbutitwasArgentinawhoopenedthescoringsixminutesafterthebreak。

Aswiftcounter-attacksawBanegareleaseDiMaria,whosequicklowshotflewpastClaudioBravoandintothebottomcornerastheChilegoalkeeperstruggledtogethisbodyintoposition。

Eightminuteslateritwas2-0,DiMariaturningcreatorthistimewithadeftpasstoBanegawhoselowshottookaslightdeflectionoffMauricioIslatodeceiveBravo。

ThegamecontinuedtohaveanedgewithDiMariaandGaryMedelbothreceivingyellowcardsforanoff-the-ballscuffleshortlyafterwards。

IninjurytimeFuenzalidagrabbedalateconsolationwithaheadedgoalfromafree-kickbutitwastoolittletoolate。

ChilesArgentina-borncoachJuanAntonioPizzibemoanedmistakeswhichcosthisteamgoals。

TwiceChilecededpossessioncheaplyinmidfield,leadingtoArgentinastwogoals。

Themistakeswerecrucial,Pizzisaid。

Theycostustwogoals。

ItwasChilesthirdstraightdefeat–butPizziwasbullishabouthisteamschancesofcomingback。

Webelieveweregoingtogetintothenextround,hesaid。