CHICAGO, IL (June 22, 2016) – The Copa America Centenario final will see a rematch of the 2015 final. The Chilean National Team defeated the Colombian National Team 2-0 in the semifinal to send the defending champions to the final on Sunday.
2-0, Chile Semifinal Victory Despite Halftime Delay
La Roja picked up right where they left off in their annihilation of El Tri. Even without star midfielder Arturo Vidal, Chile went at Colombia’s back line, using their speed and technical ability to create space. They punished defensive mistakes with scoring chances and limited their captain, James Rodriguez.
The Chileans got the scoring started in the 7th minute when Francisco Silva made a darting run down the Colombian left flank. He fired a cross to the front of the goal. Colombian midfielder Cuadrado was able to get to it in the air, but deflected it towards goal and Charles Aránguiz slotted it into the back of the net.
The defending champions doubled their advantage just five minutes later, again on very quick long passes and skill inside the box. Alexis Sánchez received a pass from his goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. He took a touch to control then fired a shot that rang off the near post. The ball deflected out in front of goal, where José Fuenzalida was all alone to score.
The half ended 2-0.
The ‘real story’ of this match happened when there wasn’t a player on the field however. Lightning strikes in the greater Chicago area caused an initial 30 minute delay to the start of the second half. Heavy rain drenched the field as pundits and fans began to wonder if the game would be delayed deep into the night or possibly till the following day.
This would have given Argentina an extra two days rest on their opponent for Sunday’s final. The loser of the match would also have just one day to recover for their third place match against the United States.
After a two hour lightning delay, the second half kicked off around 11:30 pm EST (kick off was just after 8 pm EST).
The soaked playing surface proved too tough for Colombia to make a comeback in the match. Chile controlled the ball through much of the second half, creating several chances and using up the clock. Things were further complicated for La Tricolor when Carlos Sánchez was given a second yellow for unsporting behavior.
Colombia threw men forward into the attack down a man and two goals, but it was to no avail. The match ended 2-0.
Chile will take on Argentina in the Copa America Centenario Final on Sunday at 8 pm EST. Colombia will have a rematch with the United States on Saturday in the third place game. Kickoff is set for 8 pm in Glendale, AZ.