Lionel Messi watched from the bench as Argentina opened their Copa America campaign with a 2-1 victory over Chile in Santa Clara in Group D.

Messi is still struggling with a back injury suffered in the friendly clash with Honduras last month but was not needed as Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega scored early in the second half to put Argentina in control, before Jose Fuenzalida headed home a late consolation effort for Chile at Levi’s Stadium.

Gerardo Martino’s team started brightly and Nicolas Gaitan, drafted into the starting line-up in place of Messi, almost gave them a second-minute lead but he could not keep his header down and the ball drifted harmlessly over the crossbar.

Argentina continued to cause the Chile defence problems and Di Maria twisted his way into the penalty box but pulled his shot wide of the target.

Di Maria appealed for a penalty after another run in behind the Chile defence, but his claims were waved away and only a corner came from it.

A flowing move saw Argentina create another great opportunity as they quickly turned defence into attack and Banega’s ball into the box was cleared behind for a corner.

Marcos Rojo was gifted acres of space from the resulting corner, but he failed to take advantage and sent a free header wide of the post.