An own goal from Aldo Corzo in the dying seconds of the match clinched the group for Chile as it progresses to the quarterfinals and avoids a meeting with the host nation.Chile left it late at the Estadio Malvinas as it booked its place in the quarterfinals of the Copa America as Group C winners after beating Peru 1-0. An own goal deep into injury time by Peruvian stopper Aldo Corzo unravelled what had been a remarkably bold defense for his team.
Despite Claudio Borghi making nine changes to his team, Chile enjoyed a positive opening as it asserted its dominance from the first whistle. Jean Beausejour’s fine run culminated in a teasing cross but Esteban Parades was unable to apply a lethal finish. Humberto Suazo followed up this Chilean attack with a shot of his own which flashed inches wide thanks to a lucky deflection from a Peruvian jersey.
However Peru posed a danger on the counter attack as Aldo Corzo broke down the right wing and flung over a menacing cross. Unfortunately, it was slightly over hit to the relief of Chilean goalkeeper Miguel Pinto. The final ball continued to let the Peruvians ball as despite breaking with speed, they lacked the guile to punish their offensive minded opponent’s.
Chile continued to largely dominate proceedings but lost their sparkle from earlier on as Peru defended with grit and determination. Waldo Ponce was caught offside by Sergio Markarian’s rearguard as Chile’s attack petered out as the referee blew the whistle to end the first half.
The second period began in whirlwind fashion as Borghi's troops came flying out of the blocks. Luis Jimenez swung over a precise cross but Parades could only head it into the side netting as another chance went begging for them.
Minutes after, Chile’s star player Alexis Sanchez came off the bench, the game descended into chaos as tempers reached boiling point. Peru’s Giancarlo Carmona received his marching orders after a second bookable offense and seconds later Beausejour for Chile also received a red card, leaving both sides with 10 men for the final half an hour of play.
After settling down from those manic moments, William Chiroque had a golden opportunity to steal a surprise opening goal for Peru. However his calmness deserted him at the defining moment as he cracked the ball just wide of Pinto’s goal.
Sanchez began to come to the fore as firstly his well-struck free-kick flew over the bar followed by a hazardous cross which Peru’s Salomon Libman was just about able to claim.
Jimenez looked to have missed out on a glaring chance to snatch a group clinching win five minutes from the end for the Chileans. His header was directed wide as profligacy looked to have beaten his nation.
However, Chile was justly rewarded for its adventurous endeavours as in the 92nd minute, it finally broke the Peruvian resistance. Aldo Corzo was the villain for his nation as he handed the Chileans a fortunate winner after failing to deal with a corner properly and helping the ball into his own net.
Chile has now clinched the top spot in Group C and will progress to the quarter-finals and more importantly, they are now also guaranteed to avoid playing against hosts’ Argentina in the next round.
Peru meanwhile, will also join its opponents on the night in the quarterfinals, but if it finishes as group runners up, it will face Argentina in the quarterfinals.
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