Chile beats Bolivia in Copa America to finish top in Group A
Chilean soccer fans celebrated late on Friday their country national team’s crushing 5-0 victory over Bolivia to finish atop Group A in the Copa America and ensure they remain in the capital Santiago for their quarter-final.
Midfielder Charles Aranguiz scored twice and Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez grabbed his first goal of the tournament as Chile cruised to victory in a one-sided encounter at the national stadium.
Full back Gary Medel added a fourth, Bolivian captain Ronald Raldes scored an own-goal and Sanchez hit the woodwork twice against a Bolivia side that offered little in the way of resistance.
Despite their defeat, Bolivia finished second in the group and also progress to the last eight.
“We didn’t have too much faith, what happened was an error (referring to Chilean player Arturo Vidal) but in the end, it’s the same. In the end, it’s about winning, it’s about winning,” Chilean fan Mauro Nunez said. “The thing is about being the champions, we are at home, and we have to show our balls in the end.”
Vidal was arrested earlier in the week over suspected drunk driving.
Another fan kept a close eye on the coveted trophy.
“Awesome! The trophy stays here, at home. Let’s go Chile, let’s keep the trophy here,” she said.
Ecuador, who beat Mexico 2-1 earlier, will have to wait for more results to see if they go through, while Mexico, who came to the Copa with an understrength side, are eliminated.
Chile made the perfect start, Aranguiz putting them ahead after three minutes.
Powerful shot from the edge
Medel launched a long ball forward, striker Eduardo Vargas hooked it back with his first touch and Aranguiz ran on to it to fire home a powerful shot from the edge of the box.
After Sanchez had hit both posts, he finally found the back of the net after 37 minutes, meeting a Valdivia cross with a diving, glancing header into the bottom corner.
The Chileans continued their domination after the break, Aranguiz scoring his second from close range in the 66th minute.
Medel, a hard-tackling defender, capped a fine night for the hosts with a goal worthy of a striker, chesting down a pass from Valdivia before chipping a delicate lob over the oncoming goalkeeper.
Raldes then deflected a right cross into his own goal to complete a miserable night for the Bolivians.
“It’s great, spectacular. Finally the quarter-finals, it’s stupendous,” another fan said after the spectacular victory.
Chile’s victory comes at the end of a difficult week dominated by news of their midfielder Vidal, who was charged with drink-driving after spending an afternoon off from the Copa drinking at a casino.