Two early goals from Aranguiz and Fuenzalida in the first half sealed Chile’s spot in the final against Argentina as they beat Colombia 2-0 in the Centenario Copa America 2016 second semi-final clash at Soldier Field, Chicago on Wednesday.
Both the teams started on an attacking mode right from the kick-off but Chile dominated possession in the earlier minutes.
Chile seemed high on confidence after defeating Mexico 7-0 in the quarter-finals and put more bodies forward right from the beginning.
Aranguiz opened the account for Chile, early in the 7th minute. Fuenzalida rushed in from the right and whipped in a decisive cross which Cuadrado failed to clear and he sent it back into the danger area. Aranguiz got on the end of it before launching a right footed shot from very close range to beat the goalkeeper.
Chile held on to the momentum and pushed the tempo further to increase pressure on the Colombian back-line.
Chile currently lead Colombia 2-0. The rebound from Alexis' shot was tapped in by Fuenzalida for the second goal. pic.twitter.com/89xsiWocAD
— Terje (@GoonerTerje) June 23, 2016
Colombian defense crumbled under pressure and Fuenzalida scored the second for Chile in the 11th minute. Alexis Sanchez received a a pass over the top and rushed in from the centre before launching a venomous low shot at goal which the goalkeeper managed to thump away. Fuenzalida got on the end of the rebound in the six-yard box and tapped the ball into the empty net.
After two early goals, Chile looked to slow down the game a bit but Colombia came back strong as they looked to work the ball all over the pitch. James Rodriguez controlled the proceedings in the midfield with Cuadrado and Martinez taking the charge through the flanks.
Colombia had a golden opportunity to pull one back in the 23rd minute but Claudio Bravo went full stretch down on the right to deny Martinez’s right footed shot from the right side of the box.
James Rodriguez launched an effort on goal in the 31st minute but his left footed shot from outside the box was close but just missed to the right of the post.
Colombia dominated possession towards the end of the 1st half as they were successful in building pressure on the Chilean defense. The men in white desperately looked to cut down the deficit in the dying minutes of the first half and looked to threaten through the flanks.
Colombia almost managed to pull one back in the fag end of the first half but sensational goalkeeping from Claudio Bravo denied them off a golden chance. Carlos Sanchez fired a venomous strike towards the far post but Bravo dived across to get a strong touch to it. The ball found Cuadrado who whipped in a lethal cross into the middle but Bravo stood up again to get a touch to it and kept the ball out of danger.
— Silvia Schultz (@Silviaschultz13) June 23, 2016
There was a two and a half hours delay into the start of the second half due to thunderstorms in the area.
Colombia started from where they left in the first as they kept on pumping the ball forward into the opposition box but they lacked the finishing in the final third. Chile looked to increase their lead and looked threatening on their quick counter-attacks.
Colombia were denied a penalty in the 48th minute. Jara fumbled at the back and gave away the ball to Torres who tapped the ball forward before being tripped inside the box. However the referee declared it as a fair challenge.
Colombia were down to ten men in the 57th minute as the referee showed the second yellow to Carlos Sanchez for a foul high up the pitch.
Ospina with a good save pic.twitter.com/50fTNAWZ87
— Terje (@GoonerTerje) June 23, 2016
Chile almost scored their third in the 66th minute but an acrobatic effort from David Ospina was enough to deny Erick Pulgar’s header at goal. Francisco Silva whipped in a well timed cross from the right to find Pulgar, who jumped in the air and launched a header towards the far post but Ospina dived out full-strech to keep the ball out of danger.
Despite having a numerical disadvantage, Colombia pressed hard for their opening goal and had their best chance in the 71st minute. James deceived Silva and manages to find a fair amount of space before launching in a thunderous strike at goal but his left footed shot from outside the box was saved by Bravo at the bottom left corner.
Colombia put up a strong fight in the dying minutes of the game but they lacked the finishing on the final ball. Chile looked for chances to increase their lead and were unlucky in few occasions. However a strong defensive display from Chile sealed their place into the final where they will lock horns against Argentina to defend their Copa America title.