Vargas double as Chile sink Peru
Santiago: Eduardo Vargas scored twice as Chile downed fierce rivals Peru 2-1 here to reach the Copa America final for the first time in nearly 30 years.
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 minute.
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 tournament.
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 failure.
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.