BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Brazil qualified for the finals of the Copa America championship with a 2-0 win over Argentina at the Mineirao stadium on Tuesday.
Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino scored the two goals of the game to set up a clash with the winner of the semifinal between Chile and Peru, which will take place on Wednesday.
Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring for Brazil in the 19th minute off a pass by Firmino following some exquisite play by Dani Alves, and the Liverpool striker struck in the 71st minute to widen the lead.
Brazil has advanced to the Copa America finals for the first time since 2007, when it won the title in Venezuela, and the first time since the team’s coach Tite took charge three years ago.
On the other hand, Argentina, which lost back-to-back finals in 2015 and 2016, has gone 26 years without winning the tournament despite having one of the world’s best players in the team, Lionel Messi.
Despite attempts by Messi and Sergio Aguero, Brazil managed to hold out long enough to prevent its rival from scoring as it has done in the last five games.
The hosts started by exerting pressure on their opponents as if reminding Argentina that they were in hostile territory.
The first scoring opportunity came when Leandro Paredes tried to whip the ball into the net but it bounced off the crossbar.
The breakthrough for Brazil came when captain Dani Alves picked up the ball and found Firmino on the right wing.
The Liverpool striker then sent a low pass to 22-year-old Gabriel Jesus, who made no mistake in putting it in the net to take the score to 1-0.
In the second half, Argentina took control as Aguero and Messi began to take apart the Brazilian defense.
However, despite some solid scoring opportunities, the Argentinians failed to convert them into goals.
Just when it seemed that the match was getting away from Brazil, Gabriel Jesus took control of the ball and produced a brilliant run, beating the challenge of Otamendi and slipping it to Firmino, who tapped it to double his team’s lead.
The final will be played on Sunday at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.