Ar­gentina on track, Vi­dal drunk-driv­ing ar­rest rocks Chile

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY MAR­I­ANO AN­DRADE

Ser­gio Aguero reignited Ar­gentina’s Copa Amer­ica cam­paign with the only goal in a 1- 0 vic­tory over his­toric ri­vals Uruguay, as the tour­na­ment was rocked by the ar­rest of Chile star Ar­turo Vi­dal for drunk driv­ing af­ter a car crash.

Aguero bagged his sec­ond goal of the tour­na­ment in the 56th minute of a nig­gly bat­tle be­tween the 1930 World Cup fi­nal­ists in their 199th meet­ing.

The re­sult leaves Ar­gentina firmly on course to win Group B, with only one game against tour­na­ment min­nows Ja­maica, beaten 1- 0 by Paraguay in Tues­day’s early game, re­main­ing.

But the ac­tion on the pitch was over­shad­owed late Tues­day by the rev­e­la­tions con­cern­ing Chile midfielder Vi­dal.

Vi­dal, who be­came the top scorer for the tour­na­ment on Mon­day with three goals af­ter bag­ging a brace in the hosts 3-3 draw with Mexico, was de­tained by po­lice af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for al­co­hol fol­low­ing a late night crash.

Vi­dal, who was trav­el­ing with his wife when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred, suf­fered “mi­nor in­juries” but his wife’s wounds were de­scribed by po­lice colonel Ri­cardo Gon­za­lez as “mod­er­ately se­ri­ous.”

Im­ages on Twit­ter said to be Vi­dal’s ve­hi­cle showed a red Fer­rari with the driver’s side re­duced to a man­gled wreck.

“Be­cause he was driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol ... ( Vi­dal) is be­ing held,” Gon­za­lez said.

‘ Not my fault’

Im­me­di­ate de­tails about the crash were scarce, but of­fi­cials said Vi­dal’s car had col­lided with another ve­hi­cle.

The player posted a short video mes­sage on YouTube.

“To­day, I had a car ac­ci­dent. It was not my fault. I’m fine, my fam­ily’s fine. Thank you for ev­ery­thing,” Vi­dal said.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear how Vi­dal’s ar­rest would af­fect his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the tour­na­ment.

Vi­dal is no stranger to con­tro­versy. He was hit with a record fine by his club side, Ital­ian giants Ju­ven­tus, af­ter a drunken night out last year.

He was also one of sev­eral Chilean play­ers tem­po­rar­ily kicked out of the na­tional team squad in 2011 af­ter ar­riv­ing late for train­ing fol­low­ing an unau­tho­rized night out.

Chile face Bo­livia in their fi­nal Group A on Fri­day, where they will be at­tempt­ing to make cer­tain of their place in the last eight.

Ear­lier Tues­day, Ar­gentina cap­tain Lionel Messi praised his team- mates for keep­ing their cool in a hard- fought win over Uruguay.

“It was a tough match from their side. They didn’t want to play that much,” said Messi, who was sub­jected to a se­ries of cyn­i­cal fouls through­out.

“They were tough. They were hard on us. But we showed that we can also play that kind of game if we need to.

“Yet we tried to keep play­ing our game and that’s how we found the goal through Kun ( Aguero).”

Martino Sees Red

A tense first half had seen Ar­gentina dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory but fail to break down a res­o­lute Uruguayan de­fense.

The two best chances of the open­ing pe­riod both fell to Ar­gentina, with Manch­ester United winger An­gel Di Maria test­ing Fer­nando Muslera in the ninth minute with an an­gled shot that the Uruguayan goal­keeper needed two at­tempts to gather.

Muslera was pressed into ac­tion again mid­way through the half, pro­duc­ing a su­perb one­handed save to deny Aguero af­ter the striker met Messi’s sublime cross with a down­ward header.

Ten­sions be­gan to rise there­after, with Ar­gentina coach Ger­ardo Martino shown a red card by Brazil­ian ref­eree San­dro Ricci in the 38th minute.

On the stroke of half- time t em­pers f l ared once more with Ar­gentina en­forcer Javier Mascher­ano booked for slid­ing through Uruguay play­maker Ni­co­las Lodeiro, who had ear­lier seen yel­low for a wild chal­lenge on Za­baleta.

The win­ning goal came on 56 min­utes, when a cross from Pablo Za­baleta was met by his Manch­ester City team- mate Aguero, who headed past Muslera.

In Tues­day’s other game, Paraguay edged closer to the last eight with a 1- 0 win over Ja­maica.

A

freak

goal from Edgar Ben­itez proved the dif­fer­ence, the striker un­wit­tingly de­flect­ing a hap­less headed clear­ance by Ja­maica goal­keeper Duwayne Kerr into an empty net on 36 min­utes.

The win means Paraguay need only a draw against Uruguay to be sure of fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Group.

AP

Ar­gentina’s Lionel Messi falls on top of Uruguay’s Al­varo Pereira dur­ing a Copa Amer­ica Group B soc­cer match at La Por­tada sta­dium in La Ser­ena, Chile, Tues­day, June 16.

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