Chile and Peru clashed in the first semi-final of Copa America 2015, but it was Chile who triumphed on home turf, overcoming a brave Peru.
La Roja took the upper hand early on as Miiko Albornoz began to dictate from deep, Carlos Ascues came to Peru’s rescue blocking an effort from Eduardo Vargas inside the opening five minutes.
It was then Peru’s turn to introduce themselves to the home fans, a wonderful cross was meant by the head of Schalke’s Jefferson Farfán whose effort struck the post as he flicked his neck towards goal.
In fitting with every other game Chile play, the game was panning out at a frantic pace, with both sides looking a threat to each other’s goal.
With just over 15 minutes gone Carlos Lobatón fired from 25 yards, but his stunning effort deflected into the side-netting.
After 20 minutes the game suddenly took a nasty turn. Peru’s star defender Carlos Zambrano was dismissed for a second yellow, the decision was to dish out a second yellow for what appeared to just be the unintentionally follow through on a clearance seemed harsh.
Soon after it appeared as though Chile were going to impose their man advantage on Peru for the remainder of the game. A Charles Áranguiz free kick eventually found its way to Jorge Valdivia, but his attempted chip flew just over the bar.
Valdivia again came close moments later, curling just wide on the back of some magical play from Alexis Sánchez.
Chile’s were getting closer and closer as the half ticked on, this time a ball was cut-back to Vargas whose shot from eight yards was heroically blocked by Luis Advíncula.
Amazingly, Ricardo Gareca’s side were still looking a threat on the counter. Paolo Guerrero and Farfán combined to frighten Chilean fans, but Bravo slid to the rescue for his side.
In the final three minutes of the first half Chile broke Peru’s resolve. Alexis Sánchez curled in a majestic cross to the feet of Áranguiz who missed the ball, it then rebounded off the post straight to Vargas who tapped into the empty net. Replays showed that the former QPR man was in fact offside, but the officials saw nothing.
The referee blew for half-time after one minute’s stoppage and it may well have been his only correct decision of the half.
Four minutes into the second half Vargas though he had a second, but the linesman flagged for offside in search of atonement for his earlier error. This was another as Vargas was clearly onside.
Despite this, Peru’s second half plan appeared to be playing out perfectly. With roughly an hour gone they pulled level. Fantastic work from Advíncula on the right side ended with Gary Medel turning Advíncula’s sensational cross into the back of his own net.
Not long after Chile regained their lead. Vargas was not to be denied his second this time, firing an absolutely magical strike into the far corner of Pedro Gallese’s goal. Unstoppable.
Chile were pressuring for a third to seal the tie, the closest they came prior to the final 10 minutes was through an Arturo Vidal volley that breezed just over the bar.
Vidal had another chance late on, this time Gallese thwarted him at his near post.
Unfortunately for Peru their late minor spell of late pressure was not enough and they shall now face the losers of Argentina v Paraguay in the third-place play-off match. Hosts Chile are in the final.
Chile: Bravo, Isla, Medel, Rojas, Albornoz (Mena 46), Díaz (D.Pizarro 46), Aránguiz, Vidal, Valdivia (Gutiérrez 86), Alexis Sánchez, Vargas
Peru: Gallese, Advíncula, Zambrano, Ascues, Vargas, Lobatón (Yotún 73), Ballón, Farfán, Carrillo (C.Pizarro 73), Cueva (Ramos 27), Guerrero
Booked: Zambrano x2
Goalscorers: Vargas x2, Medel (OG)
Man of the Match: Eduardo Vargas. The Napoli forward was in fantastic form, scoring two goals and wrongfully denied a third. His second goal will be a hit with vine-users across the globe.