Hosts Chile beat Uruguay to reach semis


De­fender Mauri­cio Isla scored an 81st-minute win­ner to help host Chile de­feat de­fend­ing cham­pion Uruguay 1-0 and ad­vance to the semi­fi­nals of the Copa Amer­ica on Wed­nes­day.

Chile dom­i­nated the game from the start and Isla fi­nally broke the dead­lock with a low shot from just in­side the area af­ter a pass by Jorge Val­divia, ad­vanc­ing his team to the semi­fi­nals of the South Amer­i­can tour­na­ment for the first time in 16 years.

Uruguay, try­ing to make it to the semi­fi­nals for the sixth-straight time, played a man down from the 63rd af­ter star striker Edin­son Ca­vani was shown his sec­ond yel­low card of the match for ap­par­ently slap­ping a Chilean player away from the ball. His first yel­low was for com­plain­ing with the lines­man in the 30th.

Uruguay lost another player in the 88th, when de­fender Jorge Fu­cile also was sent off for a sec­ond yel­low. Uruguayan play­ers loudly com­plained with Brazil­ian ref­eree San­dro Ricci and his lines­man, and the game was stopped for nearly five min­utes.

The Uruguayans were al­ready with­out Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who was banned from the tour­na­ment for bit­ing Ital­ian Gior­gio Chiellini at the World Cup last year.

Chile is try­ing to win the Copa Amer­ica for the first time and is con­sid­ered one of the main ti­tle fa­vorites thanks to a “Golden Gen­er­a­tion” of play­ers that in­clude Val­divia, Ar­turo Vi­dal, Alexis Sanchez and Clau­dio Bravo. It reached the last 16 at the World Cup in Brazil last year, be­ing elim­i­nated by the hosts.

Chile hadn’t made it to the Copa Amer­ica semi­fi­nals since the 1999 tour­na­ment in Paraguay.

The last time Uruguay failed to ad­vance past the quar­ter­fi­nals was in the 1997 tour­na­ment in Bo­livia. Uruguay had elim­i­nated the hosts in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the last two edi­tions of the Copa Amer­ica — Ar­gentina in 2011 and Venezuela in 2007.

Chile at­tacked from the start at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional Julio Marti- nez, with Uruguay re­ly­ing on its solid de­fense and try­ing to find spa­ces to coun­ter­at­tack. Although Chile kept pos­ses­sion, it strug­gled to get many shots on goal.

Isla’s win­ner came af­ter Uruguay goal­keeper Fer­nando Muslera tried to clear a cross into the area and the ball went straight to Val­divia. The play­maker quickly passed it to Isla, who touched it for­ward and fired the low shot through de­fend­ers and into the right cor­ner.

Chile came into the match with the Copa Amer­ica’s best of­fense with 10 goals, twice as many as any other team.

The match hap­pened the same day Chilean author­i­ties said Vi­dal will face ad­di­tional charges for in­sult­ing po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter crash­ing his Fer­rari while driv­ing drunk last week. He ini­tially had his driver’s li­cense sus­pended for four months, but was al­lowed to stay with the team in the Copa Amer­ica. Vi­dal en­tered the quar­ter­fi­nals as the tour­na­ment’s top scorer with three goals.

Chile made it to the tour­na­ment’s fi­nal four times, but not since 1987 in Ar­gentina, when it lost 1-0 to Uruguay, the Copa Amer­ica’s most suc­cess­ful na­tion with 15 ti­tles, one more than Ar­gentina.


Chile’s Mauri­cio Isla, cen­ter, shoots to score the open­ing goal dur­ing a Copa Amer­ica quar­ter­fi­nal soc­cer match against Uruguay at the Na­tional Sta­dium in San­ti­ago, Chile, Wed­nes­day, June 24.

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