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Copa America

  • July 4, 2011
  • • 8:45 PM
  • • Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, Provincia de San Juan
  • Referee: J. Soto

Chile 2-1 Mexico: Arturo Vidal, Esteban Paredes spark comeback win for Claudio Borghi's side

Chile 2-1 Mexico: Arturo Vidal, Esteban Paredes spark comeback win for Claudio Borghi's side

Gio dos Santos, Mexico (Getty Images)

Two second-half goals move the heavily fancied side to the top of Group C in a dominant performance against an inexperienced team.

Patience paid off for Claudio Borghi's team.

Chile came back from a goal down to beat Mexico 2-1 in its first game in the 2011 Copa America, moving the side to the top of Group C.

Goals from substitute Esteban Paredes and midfielder Arturo Vidal after halftime cancelled out a Nestor Araujo opener, and gave their squad a well-earned victory in an impressive display.

"We talked about staying calm, that the goal would eventually come," Chile Striker Alexis Sanchez said. "It did, and then we had a chance to make it 2-1."

Chile started the game the brighter, applying pressure on the young Mexican side with three corners in the first eight minutes. The first chance of the game fell to Barcelona target Sanchez, who latched onto a long through ball but fired wide of Luis Michel's right post.

Neat passing and movement, with Mauricio Isla the fulcrum of the Chilean's attacking intent, created two chances for Humberto Suazo in a span of five minutes, but the Monterrey forward could not capitalize, seeing one effort saved by Michel and the other fly over the bar from 10 yards.

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matias Fernandez went close on 25 minutes also, with a curling free kick from 25 yards flying just wide. Despite this, it looked like only a matter of time before Chile took one of the chances created, amid long spells of possession.

Mexico looked to soak up pressure and hit its opponents on the counter attack, and Giovani Dos Santos was the team's main threat. In a swift counter attack, the Tottenham man saw a shot blocked by Waldo Ponce after 17 minutes, as he spurned Rafael Marquez Lugo's attempts of support to shoot himself.

"I think the way we planned out our game tactically we had to play the ball along the ground more with more people upfront - I think that's the reason why (he couldn't score)," dos Santos said. "We knew Chile would be tough."

Against the run of play the underdogs took the lead on 41 minutes, however, with Nestor Araujo heading over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. A long ball into the box by dos Santos was not dealt with by the Chilean defence, allowing the 19-year-old to head home from 10 yards, and give the young side the lead at the break.

Borghi's side started the second half as it ended the first, with long spells of possession leading to the Mexican side dropping deeper and deeper. On 52 minutes Suazo missed his third chance of the game, firing straight at captain Michel, who saved well. Chilean fans may have started to think it might be one of those days, and Parades was brought on to add more attacking impetus for the ineffective Jean Beausejour on the hour mark.

The Colo Colo forward only needed six minutes on the pitch before grabbing the all-important equalizer. Sanchez forced a corner with good work down the right, which was floated in by Fernandez, allowing Pablo Contreras to beat his marker and direct a shot across goal. Parades beat a man on the post to fire home from a yard and square things up.

Mexico's confidence looked to be wavering, with Chile pushing forward more and taking the lead after 72 minutes. Another right-sided corner from Fernandez was attacked at the near post by Bayer Leverkusen's Vidal, who powered a bullet header into the roof of the net, giving Michel no chance.

Sanchez and Suazo continued to attack in search of a decisive third, and the pair combined for the latter to fire a dangerous ball across goal with 10 minutes remaining, with Parades a whisker away from converting and deciding the game.

In a last gasp attempt to grab a point Mexico threw on Edgar Pacheco, who had a great chance to be a hero with his first touch but he couldn't beat Bravo from six yards out. A Diego Reyes header from the resulting corner was the youthful side's last chance, but the Chile captain again saved the effort to give his side a deserved win.

Chile takes on Uruguay next, whilst Mexico needs a result against Peru; both games take place on Friday local time.

"We hope to do better in order to obtain the victory," dos Santos said.

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