Vargas Fires Chile into Copa América Final


Eduardo Vargas scored the two goals as Chile saw off the 10 men of Peru 2-1 to book their place in the 2015 Copa América final.

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The tournament hosts, who have never lifted the trophy, made sure they would be back in Santiago on Saturday with a hard-fought victory over their neighbours, who had to play 70 minutes without the services of Carlos Zambrano.

The defender was shown a red card for following through with his studs up on Charles Aránguiz after already clearing the ball.

It ended an eventful, albeit brief, evening for Zambrano, who became involved in an early incident with Arturo Vidal, who could have been dismissed himself for raising his hand, before then being booked for a foul on Alexis Sánchez.

Chile made their numerical advantage count just before the break, Vargas just about getting enough on his effort to  see it creep over the line after an inswinging cross from Sánchez had hit the post and rebounded back into his team-mate’s path.

Los Incas silenced the majority of the crowd when they equalised through a Gary Medel own goal on the hour mark, the defender turning in Luis Advíncula’s cross from the right as he desperately stretched out to try and deal with the danger.

They were not level for long, however, as Vargas produced a stunning long-range strike to put Chile ahead again just four minutes later.

La Roja managed to hang onto the lead through to the final whistle, meaning they will next face either Argentina or Paraguay, who meet in Concepción on Tuesday night, in the final.

Peru, meanwhile, have to deal with the disappointment of losing in the last four at a second successive Copa.

A chance to appear in the third/fourth-place play-off on Friday is of scant consolation after an outstanding campaign from Ricardo Gareca’s side.

They had looked threatening when at full strength, Jefferson Farfán hitting the post with a header.

However, the dismissal of Zambrano – who took his time to make his way from the field – left Peru facing an uphill struggle. They did get a fortunate break when Vargas was denied a second goal early in the second half, having been incorrectly ruled offside.

Yet there was nothing wrong with his match-winning strike, the Napoli-owned forward taking aim from distance with a dipping shot that left goalkeeper Pedro Gallese with no chance of keeping it out.

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