Whilst a quarter final berth was already in the bag, Chile ensured that they would finish top of the group with a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Perú in their final Group C game in Mendoza. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for la roja as they had to rely on a 91st minute own goal to guarantee top position in the group.
With qualification to the next stage of the tournament already assured before kickoff, coach Claudio Borghi made six changes to the starting line-up with Alexis Sánchez, Claudio Bravo, Medel, Isla, Contreas and Vidal all getting a break with Bravo’s absence giving Miguel Pinto a rare start .
Their opponents, who were also in the same situation, also decided to rest a number of players and this made for a very disjointed performance from both teams, especially in the first half although there were a few heart in mouth moments for both teams went close to scoring via goal mouth scrambles. As with all matches between these two teams there was an element of tension simmering below the surface with a few tasty challenges flying in from both teams.
Early in the second half it was quite obvious that Claudio Borghi had seen enough, and introduced Sánchez and Jorge Valdivia for Esteban Paredes and Gonzalo Fierro respectively. Two minutes that simmering tension burst to the surface as Christian Ramos brought down Sánchez in the middle of the park with an ugly challenge with both teams coming together to exchange pleasantries with Perú’s Giancarlo Carmona and Chile’s Jean Beauseajour receiving their marching orders.
The introduction of Sánchez did have a positive impact on the play with the Chilean looking much more positive in attack. It looked like it wasn’t going to beChile’s night as in the dying stages Luis Jimenez managed to put a free header wide and Humberto Suazo was unable to get a touch on ball crossed across the teeth of goal in the dying moments. However from the resulting corner, Ramos, who had only moments before denied Suazo with the slightest of touches, bundled the ball into his own net much to the delight of the large contingent of Chilean supporters.
Chile 1-0 Peru