Vargas double takes hosts Chile into Copa America final

In tight win against Peru, Chile celebrate final in Copa America, waiting for winners of Tuesday's semi-final between Argentina and Paraguay

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Chile qualified for the Copa America final on Monday after two goals from Eduardo Vargas gave them a 2-1 win over Peru in an action-packed semi-final marked by another controversial refereeing decision.

Peru had to play with 10 men for most of the match after Carlos Zambrano, who was yellow carded in the seventh minute, was harshly sent off for a high challenge 13 minutes later.

Chile got the opener on 42 minutes when Vargas managed to poke the ball home from three yards after an Alexis Sanchez cross had come back off the post. Television replays showed him to be marginally offside.

Peru equalised on the hour mark when Paolo Guerrero split the Chilean defence with a pass for Luis Advincula and his vicious cross was turned into his own net by Gary Medel.

Peru's lead lasted just four minutes, though, and again it was Vargas who got Chile's goal, lashing home an unstoppable strike from 30 yards.

Chile, who have never won the Copa America, will play the winners of Tuesday's semi-final between Argentina and Paraguay.

Leading Chile to the Copa America final was a dream come true for coach Jorge Sampaoli, who felt relief after the hosts overcame nerves to secure victory.

"It was our obligation to get Chile to the final, we knew it from the first moment," Sampaoli told reporters.

"It's an incredible dream and even more so as hosts."

Sampaoli said nerves had made the win more difficult than needed, even with Chile one man up for most of the match.

"Confusion complicated us in a game that we should have secured much earlier," he added.

"Of all our Copa games this was the most difficult because we didn't know how to define."

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca praised the hosts, saying Chile were "a firm candidate (to win the Copa), it was from the beginning and continues to be."

Chile will play the winners of Tuesday's semi-final between Argentina and Paraguay for a shot at their first title in the tournament's 99-year history.