Two-time Copa America champions Chile opened their bid for a third title with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Peru in Arlington on Friday.

A scrappy encounter at the Texas home of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team saw neither side manage to get on top before a result that boosts Argentina’s hopes of winning Group A.

Chile were left ruing a golden missed chance from veteran Inter Milan forward Alexis Sanchez in the 16th minute.

Sanchez, one of the heroes of Chile’s back-to-back Copa America victories in 2015 and 2016, was teed up in the six-yard box after a low pass from Victor Davila.

But with plenty of time and space, the 35-year-old somehow scooped his shot over the bar as Peru were given a huge let-off.

“I had one or two chances and this is the Copa América — when you have a chance you have to make it,” Sanchez said afterwards.

Despite his frustration in front of goal, Sanchez insisted Chile were satisfied with their display.

The former Barcelona and Arsenal forward expressed a positive feeling, happiness with the performance, and excitement.

Sanchez’s botched effort ended up being the best chance of the night for Chile, who enjoyed 65% possession yet only managed one shot on target during the game.

A disjointed encounter never really got going, with some 37 fouls breaking up play and contributing to a lacklustre spectacle.

Peru’s best chance came near the hour mark when Gianluca Lapadula volleyed over from close range.

Peru’s Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati was encouraged by his team’s performance.

In the first half, Chile had more possession of the ball, although they could not do much damage to Peru.

The team had a very good attitude but was anxious and lacked confidence when playing. However, they improved substantially in the second half. Despite not being perfect, Peru is taking steps in the right direction and any issues can be corrected.

The result leaves Argentina, 2-0 winners over Canada in the tournament’s opening game on Thursday, two points clear at the top.

Chile face Argentina in their second match on Tuesday in New Jersey in a replay of the 2016 Copa Centenario final at the same venue.

With AFP