Along with Venezuela and Ecuador, Chile is the only team, which has never won the South American championship. Going into the semifinal clash with Peru at Santiago on Monday, Chile were the favorites on form, team strength and home advantage. They had a great run in the group stage and the knock-out phase. Of all participating teams, Chile scored maximum number of 11 goals in the tournament, including the 5-0 drubbing of Bolivia. In contrast, Peru scored just 2 goals in their three league games and their best result of a 3-1 victory came against Bolivia in the quarterfinals. True to expectations, Chile defeated Peru 2-1 and moved into the Copa America final. Now for their maiden victory in the tournament, Chile will have to defeat the winners between Argentina or Paraguay, who will contest the other semifinal on Tuesday at Concepcion.
The match had a scrappy start as players decided to be offensive and clean game was consigned to the dust. In the fourth minute Vidal and Zambrano were involved in an extremely poor tackle. Though Vidal pushed away Zambrano’s face, Vidal’s action was ignored by the referee. However, Zambrano was served a yellow card in the sixth minute, when he aggressively brought down Alexis Sanchez. For the first 15 minutes, the game was played at a high tempo with both teams getting to attack each other and Peru earning two corners, which were wasted. In the 20th minute, Zambrano was red-carded for kicking Chile’s Aranguiz in the back. Whether it was intentional or not, Aranguiz went down as if he has been hit by a bullet.
Vidal took the resulting free kick but it was cleared. With Peru down to 10 men, Chile had the number’s advantage and they attacked the Peruvian goal constantly. In the 34th minute, Chile could have got ahead but Peru’s goalkeeper Advincula made a brilliant save. It was a move from Sanchez that brought the ball to Isla, who passed it for Vidal. Just as Vidal was about to shoot, Advincula dived and the ball scooped up. Vidal had a chance again with a header in which the Peru goalkeeper went down but the ball went away. Chile got the breakthrough three minutes before the breather. Vidal sent a lovely ball to Sanchez, who crossed it for Aranguiz but Aranguiz only managed to hit the post. The rebound from the post came to Eduardo Vargas, who calmly tapped it into the goal. With one minute left, Peru got a chance to equalize but Carillo wasted it. The teams went to the halftime with Chile leading 1-0 and things looking bleak for Peru.
The second half began with Chile getting a higher share of the ball possession. Vargas fired another shot into the goal in the 49th minute but the referee ruled it off-side. In the meanwhile, Peru also got some chances but Chilean goalkeeper foiled an attempted header from Farfan in 54th minute. Farfan’s persistence finally paid off in the 61st minute, when a ball from Guerrero gave Farfan some good space as he headed. But in trying to save a certain goal. Medel’s dive sent the ball into his own goal. The equalizer raised the pace of the game and within 3 minutes, Vargas scored again. It was one of the best goals of the tournament as Vargas produced a curling kick from 30 yards that angled straight into the goal and no one could do anything about it. The next 25 minutes saw Chile taking the ball possession for most time and Peru’s challenge dimmed. Peru got some chances but Chile’s defense line was strong. The energetic game ended 2-1 in favor of the home side, who will wait for the other semifinal between Argentina and Paraguay to determine their opponent.
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