Chile rout Bo­livia to fin­ish 1st in its Copa group

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Charles Aran­guiz scored twice and Alexis Sanchez added another goal on Fri­day to help Copa Amer­ica host Chile de­feat Bo­livia 5-0 and ad­vance from the group stage in first place.

Bo­livia also se­cured a spot in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the South Amer­i­can tour­na­ment de­spite the rout, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Group A. Chile reached seven points, three more than Bo­livia and four more than Ecuador, which ear­lier Fri­day de­feated Mexico 2-1. Mexico was elim­i­nated with two points.

Ecuador can still ad­vance depend­ing on other re­sults. The top two teams in each of the three groups ad­vance to the quar­ter­fi­nals, in ad­di­tion to the two-best third-place fin­ish­ers.

By ad­vanc­ing in first place, Chile gets to stay in San­ti­ago for the quar­ter­fi­nals, while Bo­livia will head to Te­muco.

“To beat the great teams that we will face from now on, the only chance we have is to play the way we played to­day,” Chile coach Jorge Sam­paoli said. “We scored five times, and the team has to keep pri­or­i­tiz­ing the at­tack, but we also need to have some bal­ance when we face a tougher op­po­nent than we faced to­day.”

It is the first time in five Copa Amer­ica edi­tions that Bo­livia has ad­vanced from the group stage.

“It was won­der­ful to be able to ad­vance,” Bo­livia coach Mauri­cio So­ria said. “Now it’s time to fo­cus on our next op­po­nent and try to con­tinue mak­ing history, be­cause we be­lieve we can.”

Aran­guiz opened the scor­ing a with a right-footed shot from in­side the area less than three min­utes into the match at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional Julio Martinez, and Sanchez scored his first goal of the tour­na­ment in the 37th, head­ing in a right-side cross by play­maker Jorge Val­divia. Just a few min­utes ear­lier Sanchez had struck the post with a well-struck free kick shot.

Aran­guiz scored his sec­ond goal from close range in the 66th, and Gary Medel added to the lead with a shot over Bo­livia goal­keep- er Romel Quinonez in the 79th af­ter another set up by Val­divia.

Ron­aldo Raldes’ own goal in the 86th closed the scor­ing.

Chile star midfielder Ar­turo Vi­dal got to play only three days af­ter crash­ing his car while driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol. Vi­dal had his driver’s li­cense seized af­ter the Tues­day night ac­ci­dent in the out­skirts of San­ti­ago, but coach Sam­paoli de­cided to keep the Ju­ven­tus midfielder on the squad for the rest of the South Amer­i­can tour­na­ment.

Vi­dal’s crash made front-page head­lines across the coun­try this week, with many Chileans show­ing their sup­port to the player and oth­ers pun­ish­ment.

Chile is try­ing to win the Copa Amer­ica for the first time and is con­sid­ered a ti­tle fa­vorite thanks to a “Golden Gen­er­a­tion” of play­ers that in­clude Vi­dal, Sanchez, Val­divia and Clau­dio Bravo.

Bo­livia won the South Amer­i­can tour­na­ment in 1963 and fin­ished sec­ond in 1997, both times at home. It lost the 1997 fi­nal 3-1 to a Brazil­ian team led by striker Ron­aldo and de­fen­sive midfielder Dunga, Brazil’s cur­rent coach.

Chile and Bo­livia hadn’t met in the Copa Amer­ica since the 1995 tour­na­ment, when they drew 2-2 in Uruguay.


for harsher


Chile’s Ed­uardo Var­gas, sec­ond from left, falls af­ter an at­tempt to score as Bo­livia’s goal­keeper Romel Quinonez grabs the ball dur­ing a Copa Amer­ica Group A soc­cer match at El Na­cional sta­dium in San­ti­ago, Chile on Fri­day, June 19.

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