- Copy link
The host nation Chile have got their Copa América 2015 campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Ecuador in Group A. Barça keeper Claudio Bravo captained a 'la Roja' side that also contained former blaugrana Alexis Sánchez. Second half goals from Arturo Vidal and substitute Eduardo Vargas secured all three points for the side coached by Argentine Jorge Sampaoli as they begin their quest to claim the title of South American champions for the first time in the competition's 99 year history.
Chile went into game with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders and were quick to create the first real chance of the game. In just the second minute Alexis Sánchez shot just wide following a defence splitting pass from Valdivia. The ex-Barça striker was a permanent threat during the opening half and just two minutes later Ecuador keeper Domínguez was quick of his line to deny the Chilean. Ecuador, looking for just their second victory in the Copa América since 1999, weathered the early pressure and sought to cause the hosts problems on the break. In the 18th minute Chile captain Bravo was called into action for the first time. Defender Marcelo Díaz gave the ball away at the back and Bravo had to be alert to turn away Fidel Martínez's resultant curling shot.
Second half goals for home side
With the game goalless at the break, Sampaoli decided to bring on Eduardo Vargas for Beausejour at the beginning of the second half to give Alexis more support up front. However, it was Ecuador who started the better, Valencia going close on one occasion before drawing another good save from Claudio Bravo on another just after the hour mark. Chile forced Bravo's opposite number Domínguez into action with Vargas' effort before the home side were awarded a penalty after Bolaños needlessly pulled down Arturo Vidal inside the penalty area. The Juventus midfielder, who played in the Italians' defeat against Barça in the recent Champions League final, showed no sign of nerves as he tucked away the spot kick into the top right hand corner to give Chile the lead on 66 minutes.
The sell out crowd in the Estadio Nacional in Santiago had to endure a scare when Valencia's header came back off the crossbar with just seven minutes to go. That galvanised the home side into action and they ended any hopes of an Ecuador equaliser with a second goal courtesy of Vargas. The Napoli striker finished well from a through ball played by Alexis Sánchez in the 84th minute. A late red card for Matías Fernández means he will miss Chile's next game in Group A which is set for Monday 15 June at 8.30pm (local time) against Mexico.
- Copy link