Di Maria on target as Argentina beats Ecuador in Copa America warmup

Chicago, June 10 (UNI) Angel Di Maria struck a first-half winner as Argentina stepped up its Copa America preparations with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador on Sunday.

Di Maria put the Albiceleste ahead in the 40th minute at Soldier Field in Chicago when he combined with Cristian Romero before slotting a low finish into the far corner.

Eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi began the match on the bench but looked sharp after replacing Di Maria in 56th minute.

Ecuador failed to have a single shot on target and controlled just over a third of the total possession.

“It was an intense match for a friendly but we played well against a difficult opponent,” Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni told a news conference.

“These types of games always have risks, which are injuries, but we’re glad that we got through it, especially considering that we only have a few days left to confirm our final squad [for the Copa America].”

Argentina’s last warmup match before the continental tournament in the United States will be a friendly against Guatemala in Maryland on Friday.

Ecuador, meanwhile, will finalize its Copa America preparations with friendlies against Bolivia on Wednesday and Honduras next Sunday.

Reigning World Cup and Copa America champion Argentina will open the tournament against Canada on June 20 before also facing Chile and Peru in Group A.

Ecuador, meanwhile, has been drawn in Group B alongside Mexico, Venezuela and Jamaica.

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