A goal in each half gave a dynamic Chile side a dominant victory, against a Uruguay side who were second-best throughout...
The game started off almost as a sideshow to the goodbye extravaganza laid on for Bielsa, with the highlight being a giant banner unfurled on the pitch beforehand, which simply said "Don Marcelo Bielsa, thank you." The stands of the Monumental were also packed, allaying early fears that people would stay away- as the Chilean public decided that paying their respects to the departing trainer was more important than protesting his controversial exit.
'The Roja' soon brought attention away from the bench though, as they started in a typically attacking, all-action fashion. For the first half an hour World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay were caught in a Chilean whirlwind and barely touched the ball, as hordes of red shirts swarmed across the pitch. Humberto Suazo gave an early indication of what could have been in South Africa had he been fit; the target man held the ball up well and looked dangerous, sending Fernando Muslera scrambling in the Uruguay goal with a saved long-range volley.
The 'Charrua' finally composed themselves and started going forward after the half hour. No sooner had they settled though than the impressive Alexis Sanchez fired the home side into the lead. Receiving the ball just outside the area, the Udinese man twisted and turned past Jorge Fucile and powered the ball past Muslera, sending the thousands of Roja fanatics wild. Things went from bad to worse for Uruguay as the half came to a close: Walter Gargano went studs up on Mark Gonzalez and deservedly received a second yellow card.
The second half saw Chile somehow failing to net a second after 55 minutes. Fabian Orellana surged straight through the Charrua defence and was just denied by Muslera; Suazo had the goal at his mercy with the rebound but fluffed his lines and volleyed over. Esteban Paredes was the next Chile player to retreat from the net red-faced, receiving an awkard pull back from the right after excellent Roja work, the substitute could only look away in horror as he sliced an open goal over the bar from 5 metres out.
The result was put beyond doubt on 75 minutes with another long-range beauty, this time a deserved goal from Arturo Vidal. The midfielder had space 20m out as Uruguay backed off, and made full use to crash the ball into the roof of the net, although Muslera really should have done better after getting a big hand on it. The stands reverberated with the chant "Bielsa please don't go as Chile went into celebration mode, with the air filled with smoke from red flares across the ample stadium.
It took until the 87th minutes for a poor Uruguay side to really test Claudio Bravo in the Roja goal, the number doing well to block a double effort from Sebastian Abreu and Martin Caceres. The night however belonged to Chile and Bielsa, and on the final whistle the players gathered in the centre of the pitch to honour a man who has been dubbed the best coach in the nation's history.