CHICAGO, Ill. – The first 45 minutes of Wednesday’s Copa America semifinal belonged to Chile. The next two hours were dominated by Chicago’s wild weather.
Eventually, after more than two hours of delay and a wide open second half that saw Colombia reduced to 10 men, Chile pulled off a 2-0 win against Colombia at Soldier Field.
The win sets up a Copa Americal final on Sunday at MetLife Stadium between Chile and Argentina, a rematch of the 2015 Copa Americal final won by Chile in penalty kcis. The teams met more recently in the group stage on June 6, which Argentina won, 2-1.
On Wednesday, defending Copa America champions Chile came out flying, scoring two goals in the first 11 minutes, even without star midfielder Arturo Vidal.
Chile took a lead in the seventh minute when Juan Cuadrado attempted to head a cross back to his goalkeeper. When David Ospina didn’t charge to collect it, Charles Aranguiz was there to knock it in.
Chile doubled the lead in the 11th minute as Alexis Sanchez came down with a long ball on the left edge of the 18-yard box, cut inside and fired a shot off the near post. The rebound went across the face of goal where Jose Pedro Fuenzalida was on the spot to pounce.
Severe rain and lightning meant that halftime lasted more than two hours, during which fans were told to leave their seats and find shelter.
Around 9:30 p.m. CT, a crew of workers started to squeegee the sizable puddles which had accumulated. As fans returned to their seats they cheered each sign of the the game returning, from the ongoing squeegee efforts to multiple pitch invaders and eventually, after 10 p.m., the return of the teams to the field.
Play resumed at 10:25 p.m. CT and the majority of the 55,423 in attendance stuck around for what ended up being a wide open final 45 minutes.
Colombia had a shout for a penalty within the first three minutes but the Cafeteros’ push to get back in the game took a serious blow in the 57th minute when Carlos Sanchez was shown his second yellow card and sent off.
Carlos Bacca came on for Cuadrado in the 80th minute, but Colombia still couldn’t erase the deficit, sending Los Cafeteros to a group-stage rematch with the U.S. in Saturday’s third-place match.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Chile’s Jose Fuenzalida came bombing forward on the right side and was involved in both of the early goals. His cross led to the poor clearance on the first and he was on the spot to put home the second.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
A clear-cut penalty shout from Colombia in the opening moments of the second half was neglected by the referee when Daniel Torres was taken down in the penalty area. Could have been a different game had that decision gone in favor of Los Cafeteros.
MATCH TO FORGET
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina could have done better on both of Chile’s goals in the opening 11 minutes. He was slow coming to get the header back on the first one and beat at his near post for the second. He did have one great save in the second half to keep it 2-0.