Alexis Sanchez scored a cheeky winning penalty as Chile won their first ever Copa America title after beating Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shootout on Saturday night.
Having finished 0-0 in regulation and then extra time, both sides were forced to determine a winner in an evenly-fought contest from the spot in Santiago.
Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega missed with dreadful penalties for Gerardo Martino’s side as they fluffed their lines from 12 yards.
All eyes were on Alexis Sanchez as he approached the spot with a chance to make history for the host nation, and he made no mistake by converting the penalty that ended hos country’s 99-year wait in the Copa.
Argentina’s midfielder Javier Pastore and Chile’s midfielder Marcelo Diaz vie for the ball during their 2015 Copa America football championship final, in Santiago, Chile, on July 4, 2015
Eduardo Vargas had the first opening of the game when he was afforded space and time to line up a strike outside the box and he drilled his effort inches past the post.
Chile maintained the pressure and Sanchez raided down the right flank and whipped a low cross into the box which was poorly cleared away by Martin Demichelis. Arturo Vidal picked up the loose ball and fired a volley towards the bottom corner, but Sergio Romero got down well to make the stop.
Argentina had their first opening at goal from a free kick from the right as Lionel Messi whipped in a cross to find Sergio Aguero at the near post, but the striker’s effort was comfortably saved by Claudio Bravo.
La Roja had an excellent chance to take the lead when Vargas broke away up the middle of the pitch and coasted past the last defender, only to lose his composure at the vital moment by firing his shot over the bar.
Argentina could have opened the scoring just before the break when Javier Pastore found space down the right and picked out substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi in the middle, but he could only fire his strike straight at Bravo.
In the second half, Sanchez robbed Otamendi of possession on the edge of the box, but was forced wide by the defender. The Arsenal man lifted a cross to the back post for Vidal, although he could only direct his header straight at Romero.
The 27-year-old probed again for La Roja as he tried to weave his way past Otamendi, and he managed to guide the ball to Vidal on the edge of the box, but his effort was well blocked by Pablo Zabaleta.