Vargas double fires Chile into Copa America final

Santiago, June 30 (IANS) Eduardo Vargas scored twice to help the Chilean football team to progress to the Copa America final with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Peru at the Estadio Nacional here.

Vargas struck from close range after Carlos Zambrano was sent off for his second caution following a challenge on Charles Aranguiz on Monday night. Peru equalised thanks to a Gary Medel own goal before Vargas rifled in a long-range shot to regain Chile’s advantage, reports Xinhua.

Jorge Sampaoli’s team are now just one win away from their first Copa America title. They will meet the winner of Tuesday’s match between Argentina and Paraguay in the final here on Saturday.

It will be “La Roja’s” first appearance in the Copa America decider since 1987 and their fourth since the competition began in 1916.

In the early stages of Monday’s clash, it was Peru that did most of the attacking. Jefferson Farfan directed a header to the base of the post before the Schalke forward was again denied by a sliding Medel tackle. But the momentum swung abruptly following Zambrano’s sending off for cluttering into Aranguiz.

Alexis Sanchez started the move that led to Chile’s first goal when his teasing ball from the left bounced off the far post, allowing Vargas to bundle in.

Peru’s only other chance in the first half came when Farfan forced a comfortable save from Claudio Bravo after Paulo Guerrero’s unselfish layoff. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Peru continued to take the game to Chile in the second half.

Farfan was an ever-present threat but should have done better when he directed a tame header at Bravo after Advincula’s floating cross.

Gareca’s team sent the crowd into stunned silence on the hour. Luis Advincula made a probing run down the right flank before his cross into the box was deflected in by Medel.

But Chile’s response was almost immediate. Medel made amends by feeding the ball to Vargas, whose fierce shot from 30 yards took a deflection to leave goalkeeper Pedro Gallese wrong-footed.

Bravo then kept out a Pizarro header after more good work from Farfan but Chile controlled the final minutes to secure their place in the tournament decider.

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