Argentina claim 2-0 win over Canada in Copa America opener

Argentina's Julian Alvarez in action with Canada's Moise Bombito. Photo: REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Atlanta: Defending champions Argentina beat Canada 2-0 in the opening match of the Copa America in Atlanta on Thursday with forwards Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scoring second-half goals to seal the victory.

Canada timed their pressing to perfection to fashion a few chances in the first half, though it was Argentina who went closest to scoring through Angel di Maria but he squandered a golden opportunity after a driving run from his own half.

Lionel Scaloni's side made the breakthrough four minutes after the restart as Lionel Messi played a sublime pass to Alexis Mac Allister, who poked it away from advancing Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and into the path of Alvarez for a simple finish.

Canada pushed hard after going behind but the introduction of veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi gave Argentina some much-needed stability at the back, before substitute Martinez slotted in from a Messi pass in the 88th minute to wrap up the win.

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