The underdogs have shocked the continent. Again. If knocking out Uruguay in the quarterfinals wasn’t enough, Peru eliminated Chile in the semifinal and will now face Brazil in the 2019 Copa America final thanks to a spectacular 3-0 victory in what will go down as one of the most unforgettable games in the history of the tournament.
Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal injured his ankle early in the game and was not himself, but Chile never would have had a chance. This is all about Peru, their warriors on the pitch, an incredible coaching performance by Ricardo Gareca, and a shot at history next Sunday at the Maracanã.
From the very beginning Peru were the better team on the pitch, despite Chile missing a huge early chance through Aránguiz. For the rest of the half, however, the Peruvians were in complete control, knowing when to press and when to defend deep, and they were always a danger on the counter. Chile were stunned by how good their opponent looked and could not provide any threat, and they seemed on the ropes from the start.
Peru’s courage and defensively solidity was rewarded with two goals on the other end: one by Flores after a deflected cross fell to his left foot, and the other on a rash decision by Chile goalkeeper Arias who left his area trying to stop Carillo and instead left an empty net for Yotún to find after a gorgeous cross from Carillo.
Chile went forward trying to get a goal before halftime but Gallese made a sensational save for Peru, who were deserved two-goal leaders after a memorable half of football.
The scenario for the final period was clear: Chile would have all the possession and try to equalize, and Peru would try to survive the pressure and maybe find a third goal to kill the game for good. La Roja started to create chance after chance, but sometimes it’s just not your night and things don’t happen.
Chile had at least three beautiful strikes from outside the box go either just wide or just over the bar, and Gallese had the best night of his career: he claimed every cross, made the perfect decision every time he needed to either punch or catch a ball, and pulled off three exceptional saves to keep a clean sheet going into the final five minutes.
Instead of parking the bus and try to see the game out, Peru decided to waste time in the best way possible: keeping possession in the final third and running out the clock with pass after pass while the Chileans ran around in desperation. If that wasn’t enough, they put the cherry on top with a gorgeous through ball from Tapia to Guerrero, who rounded the keeper to make it 3-0 and send Peru to the Final.
Chile still won a late penalty thanks to VAR and Vargas decided to do a Panenka down 3-0 which resulted in an easy save for Gallese, which was the perfect way to end this one. The final whistle came, and the underdogs have now eliminated Uruguay and Chile. Up next, they’ll have a shot at revenge against the team that embarrassed them in the group stage and achieve the impossible. What a story.
Chile: Arias; Isla, Medel, Maripán (Castillo), Beausejour; Aránguiz, Pulgar, Vidal; Fuenzalida (Sagal), Vargas, Alexis
Peru: Gallese; Advíncula, Zambrano, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotún; Carillo (Polo), Cueva (Ballón), Flores (González); Guerrero
Goals: Flores (21’), Yotún (38), Guerrero (90’+1)