Chile beat Colombia 2-0 in a rain-disputed match, reaching the final of Copa America for the second consecutive time. Only 11 minutes into the first half, Chile took a lead from Charles Aranguiz in the seventh minute and Jose Fuenzalida in the eleventh. With this win, Chile sets off the final rematch against Argentina Sunday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
With more than the two-hour delay caused by a storm in Chicago, this match lasted beyond the 4 hours and 15-minute mark, which meant this game did not finish until 11:15 p.m. local time. With the earliest goal in hand, Chile was comfortable moving back and defending the Colombian’s attack.
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, Charles Aranguiz, opened the scoring before Jose Pedro Fuenzalida made it 2-0 after 11 minutes. Chile had the cushion of a two-goal lead, while Colombia was desperate to take the game under control.
During halftime, a powerful electrical thunderstorm rolled into downtown Chicago and halted play. The game was delayed because of heavy rainfall and a thunderstorm that lasted for about two hours. The players were kept in the locker room while all of the spectators were ordered to evacuate and take shelter inside the stadium, leaving the ground empty as torrential rain poured down.
However, a break in the weather set the 45 minutes of the second half underway, producing one of the most entertaining halves of the tournament. Colombia attacked relentlessly, while Chile sought a third goal that could kill the game off.
With the second half underway, Colombia surged forward to take the game in hand, with James Rodriguez doing the best for his side to level the score. But the Colombians were unable to break the tight Chilean defense with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo superb in form.
Joel Aguilar, soon after dismissing the penalty appeal from Colombia, showed a second yellow card for Aston Villa’s midfielder, Carlos Sanchez, for a foul he committed in the 57th minute. He had to make a long walk down the dressing room, alone and gutted. The referee issued eight yellow cards and one red card during the match. After being one man down, Colombian’s hope for the biggest comeback look doomed and slightly impossible.
David Ospina, an Arsenal goalkeeper, kept up the hope after a crucial save from a clear header on target from Erick Pulgar in the 65th minute.
This result sets Chile to join Argentina in what is expected to be the rematch of last year’s Copa America final, where Chile beat Argentina in a penalty shootout. Earlier this month, when these two teams met in a group stage match, Argentina came out a winner with a 2-1 score-line. And Sunday’s final will be the second time Argentina and Chile have come together.
Colombia beat Peru on penalties in the quarter-final match after a goalless draw while Chile thrashed a Mexico side that was on a 22-match unbeaten run by a wide margin of seven goals. Chile was without two key midfielders, with Arturo Vidal suspended and Marcelo Diaz injured. AC Milan striker Carlos Baca was unfit to start against Colombia but later came off the bench for the last 10 minutes.
With Argentina scoring 18 goals in their five Copa America match so far, the final is expected to be one of the most crucial and entertaining ones. This edition of the tournament will be a reprise of last’s year final in Santiago.
With all the effort they pounded against the Chilean defense, they were unable to find a goal. Chile was denied a clear penalty chance when Zapata fouled Alexis with four minutes to go. Colombia will face the USA for the third place on Saturday while the final will be held on Sunday.
[Photo By Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images]