Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli said that Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez’s penalty that saw his side beat Argentina and claim their first-ever South American Copa America title gave him “unbelievable joy”.
Sampaoli’s La Roja won 4-1 on penalties after a goalless draw in the final in Santiago, and 26-year-old Sanchez netted the winning spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out with a cheeky ‘Panenka’, triggering wild celebrations in the Chilean capital.
“Alexis’s penalty gave me an unbelievable joy,” Sampaoli said in the press conference post-match.
“These players did a great job. They went out in search of this Copa.
“I didn’t see one play in the whole competition to suggest that Chile was not better than their rivals.”
As well as winning their maiden Copa title, Chile’s current team is considered the best generation of players in the nation’s history.
“I want to enjoy this moment with my players,” Sampaoli continued.
“To have won the Copa America here in Chile, with the people euphoric… I want to say thank you to my players for allowing me to be part of that.”
The 55-year-old believes the hosts were the better side over the 90 minutes and extra-time in the final against Argentina and said the shoot-out success saw that justice was done on Saturday.
“In terms of attacking volume, Chile were superior to Argentina,” he said.
“We were able to dominate with the ball against a powerful team like Argentina.
“Chile played a great game and we had the opportunity to win it over the 90 minutes. I take my hat off to these players.
“The penalties did us justice in the end because that was the right result. Chile offered more in the game than Argentina.”
Sampaoli also explained that stopping Barcelona forward and Argentina captain Lionel Messi was a big part in his side’s success.
He added: “The idea was for us to be the protagonist so the rival wouldn’t be able to dominate the play.
“If that happens, Messi shows you why he is the best in the world.
“The idea was to press high up the pitch and come out playing the ball.
“There was more effort and more commitment from us throughout the match.”
And asked if he will carry on as Chile head coach, Sampaoli said: “I just want to enjoy this moment. I will analyse everything else later on.”