Peru end Chile's reign to reach the Copa America final for the first time since 1975

Copa America: Peru Put an Emphatic End to Chile’s Reign

Chile 0-3 Peru

Chile’s four-year reign as Copa America champions is over. La Roja were shockingly smashed 3-0 in the semi-finals by Peru, who produced by far their best performance of the tournament.

The Peruvians hadn’t been particularly impressive through their first four games, especially going forward, and looked ripe for the picking. But they got chances to score and took full advantage of them, while Chile couldn’t.

As a result, they will now head to their first Copa final since 1975 to face hosts Brazil, who will likely be massive favourites according to the Copa America 2019 betting odds.

Highlights of the game

Peru were on the defensive for most of their quarter-final against Uruguay, but they came out looking much more aggressive to start against Chile. And they very nearly took the lead after just two minutes.

Paolo Guerrero expertly set up Christian Cueva for a shot, but the midfielder failed to get his shot on target.

Chile had their own glorious chance to take the lead on seven minutes. Alexis Sanchez found overlapping full-back Jean Beausejour, who cut the ball back to Charles Aranguiz in acres of space. But like Cueva, Aranguiz squandered the chance by shooting wide of the goal.

Alexis Sanches fails to inspire Chile squad to repeat Copa America reign during semi-final match against Peru

Chile forward Alexis Sanchez reacts during a Copa America semi-final match against Peru at the Arena do Gremio

Peru continued to put pressure on the champions, and that led to a breakthrough on 21 minutes. The ball was flicked onto the path of Edison Flores, who thumped the ball into the net with his left foot.

Flores had his sights on doubling Peru’s advantage just four minutes later as he took a speculative shot from distance, but his hopeful effort didn’t trouble Chile keeper Gabriel Arias.

Meanwhile, Guerrero almost scored, but into his own goal. Fortunately, the Peru captain managed to avoid directing a corner into his own net and was able to send the ball over the bar.

But Peru eventually did double their lead before the break, and they had Arias to thank. The Chile keeper inexplicably went racing outside his penalty area to try and clear a ball but failed. As a result, he found himself way out of position and was unable to stop Yoshimar Yotun’s strike from the edge of the box.

The champions were well and truly on the ropes now and ratcheted up the pressure heading into half-time. Their best chance of that spell fell to Jose Fuenzalida, who forced a good save from Peru keeper Pedro Gallese.

Chile nearly pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half. Eduardo Vargas got a flick-on header from a free-kick, which agonisingly hit the post.

As Chile continued to search for a goal, Peru very nearly put the final nail in their coffin on the hour mark. After a well-worked counterattack, Yotun found himself in front of goal with a chance to get his second. But he was unable to keep his composure and blasted his effort well over.

Beausejour brought out a decent save from Gallese as his first-time cross looked destined for the net. But the Peru keeper was able to claw it away. Gallese then pulled off an even better save to stop Vargas on 75 minutes. He also added to his Copa America 2019 highlights as he denied both Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez.

Peru put the finishing touches on a remarkable win in stoppage time. First, Guerrero coolly rounded Arias and tapped the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0. Then, Gallese — who crucially stopped Luis Suarez’s penalty in the quarter-finals — saved Vargas’ attempted Panenka penalty to prevent the champions from getting a late consolation.

Key statistics

With Chile having to chase the game for much of the second half, the statistics skewed significantly in their favour. They finished with 65 per cent possession and had 19 shots to Peru’s nine.

But the key statistic was Peru’s three shots on target, all of which went in the back of the net. Despite possessing the inferior individual talent, on their day, they were the much more clinical team in front of goal, not the champions.

What’s next?

It’s off to Rio and the Maracana for Peru as they face Brazil in the final. They were hammered 5-0 by Brazil in their group matchup, and SBOBET odds will likely have them priced as significant underdogs for the final.

As for Chile, they square off against Argentina in the third place play-off. That match is unlikely to be of much importance to either team as they had their sights set on the championship.

 

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