Santiago - Eduardo Vargas scored twice as Chile downed fierce rivals Peru
2-1 here Monday to reach the Copa America final for the first time in nearly 30
Vargas, who endured a miserable season on loan at relegated English Premier
League side Queens Park Rangers, lashed in a stunning 64th-minute strike as the
hosts advanced to the final for the first time since 1987.
Vargas had given Chile a controversial lead after 42 minutes, prodding home
from close range after the referee's assistant failed to spot a fractional offside.
Peru, who played most of the match with 10 men after Carlos Zambrano was
sent off for a reckless challenge on Charles Aranguiz after 20 minutes, came
back bravely to force an equaliser through a Gary Medel own goal in the 60th
But Vargas, who also had a legitimate goal wrongly ruled out for offside
early in the second half, restored Chile's lead with a contender for goal of
The 25-year-old picked up a loose ball in midfield, surged forward and
unleashed a ferocious dipping 30-yard effort that flew into the top corner past
Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Chile will now play the winner of Tuesday's semi-final between Argentina and
Paraguay as they chase a first ever Copa America crown after 99 years of
The latest instalment of Chile and Peru's long football rivalry - known as
the "Clasico del Pacifico" - burst into life after only four minutes,
when Chile's Arturo Vidal tangled angrily with Zambrano.
Vidal was fortunate to escape at least a booking for thrusting a hand in
Zambrano's face as tempers threatened to boil over.
Moments later, Venezuelan referee Jose Argota moved to nip the tensions in
the bud, showing Zambrano a yellow card for tugging down Arsenal star Alexis
Yet while Chile made the brighter start, it was Peru that came closest to
scoring in the opening minutes, with Jefferson Farfan's header from a Paolo
Guerrero cross cannoning back off the woodwork.
The match turned in the 20th minute after Zambrano's dismissal.
The centre-half was given his marching orders after catching Charles
Aranguiz with an ugly studs-up challenge as he followed through after a
Sensing Peru's vulnerability, Chile turned up the pressure and might have
opened the scoring through Jorge Valdivia on 28 minutes, only for the
influential playmaker's curling shot to fly just wide.
Six minutes later, Chile were denied again when Peru defender Luis Advincula
produced a superb last-ditch block from Vargas to clear.
Three minutes before half-time, though, Peru's resistance broke when
Sanchez's cross from the left bounced back off the inside of the upright for
Vargas to bundle home from close range.
The goal was harsh on Peru, though, as replays showed Vargas was
fractionally offside when Sanchez crossed.
Chile sought to press home their advantage after the break and Vargas was
unlucky to see a superb volleyed goal ruled out.
Peru clawed their way back into the contest on the hour mark when Guerrero
released Advincula down the right.
The fullback's cross caused havoc in the Chile area and Medel panicked and
prodded home past Claudio Bravo.
Peru's celebrations were shortlived though when Vargas crashed in his
winning goal four minutes later.