Copa America: Angel di Maria dedicates goal to grandmother who died hours before match

Santa Clara: A grieving Angel di Maria inspired Argentina to a 2-1 victory over defending champions Chile that helped them start their Copa America campaign in style. Paris Saint-Germain star Di Maria — reeling from the death of his grandmother only hours earlier — scored one goal and set up another, as the two-time world champions avenged their defeat to Chile in last year's Copa America final.

 Copa America: Angel di Maria dedicates goal to grandmother who died hours before match

Angel di Maria celebrates after scoring a goal. Reuters

Di Maria opened the scoring on 51 minutes and emotionally held a t-shirt up to the sky emblazoned with the message, "Grandma, I will miss you so much." Moments later, di Maria set up Ever Banega for Argentina's second goal, to complete a man-of-the-match performance.

"I had to play, I wanted to play, my grandmother was so proud that I played for the national team," Di Maria said during a post-match television interview before breaking down in tears.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino revealed afterwards that di Maria had kept his loss a secret from him. "I just learned that five minutes ago that his grandmother died," Martino said. "He didn't tell me anything, he was feeling well to play."

Di Maria's virtuoso display secured a deserved three points for Argentina, who will now fancy their chances of topping Group D with games against Panama and Bolivia to come. Chile substitute Jose Fuenzalida scored an injury time consolation for the holders.

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Updated Date: Jun 07, 2016 14:48:36 IST