A late Vidal goal from a controversial penalty helped the defending Champions Chile to clinch three straight points as they beat Bolivia 2-1 in the Centenario Copa America Group D clash at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts on Friday.
The match started at a slow pace as both the sides looked to retain possession but Chile had the upper hand as the match progressed.
Chile looked confident as they questioned the Bolivian defence with repeated runs through the flanks but lacked the finishing touch in the first half.
Chile got their men forward desperately in search of an opener but Bolivia failed to explore their opportunities on the counter which made life easier for the Chilean defense.
Chile enjoyed 70 % possession in the first half and they almost scored in the 37th minute. A defensive blunder from Zenteno found Hernandez, who lodged a half-volley just wide of the top corner.
Chile continued their domination in the midfield and were denied of a sure chance in the 39th minute. Lampe failed to judge a cross which fell into the path of Vidal who tapped it to Alexis. The Arsenal attacker thumped in a thunderous strike but Zenteno made a crucial goal line clearance.
Vidal scored the opener for Chile within a minute after the restart. Vidal positioned himself well to pouncing onto Pinilla’s pull-back before tapping the ball into the net from close range.
Things looked very different with both the teams battling neck to neck after the restart. Conceding an early goal in the first half made the Bolivian team desperate in search of an equaliser.
Campos pulled one back for Bolivia in the 61st minute to make the game even more exciting as both the teams needed a win to keep their hopes alive for a place in the knock-out stage. Campos lodged a thunderous curler from a free-kick that hit the underside of the bar before going in.
A sensational save from the Bolivian goalkeeper Lampe denied Chile from taking the lead in the 72nd minute. Sanchez fired in a wonderfully struck free-kick at the near post but Lampe reacted quickly and went full stretch to stop the ball and later denied Puch who came running on the follow up.
Both the teams battled neck to neck in the dying minutes of the match in search of a late goal and Chile had the last laugh as the assistant referee called a controversial handball in the box to award them a penalty.
Vidal made no mistake and scored his second for the night as he smashed a right footed shot to the top right corner to put the game to bed.
Bolivia had the last chance to equalise from a Campos assist but Ramallo’s effort at goal went inches wide of the near post.