Chile Win On Late, Late Vidal Penalty

A penalty kick goal in the 100th minute by Arturo Vidal granted Chile a precious 2-1 victory over Bolivia in Group D play in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Coming in the 10th minute of additional time, Vidal’s winner was the result of a controversial penalty awarded by match official Jair Marrufo for a handball in the Bolivian penalty area.

Both sides entered the match following one-goal defeats, with Chile losing out to Argentina and Bolivia surrendering a late goal to Panama in their respective opening fixtures. A win on Friday was necessary for each side in order to provide them with a realistic shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Chile were the dominant side throughout the night at Gillette Stadium, with Vidal and Charles Aránguiz controlling the midfield in Chile’s 4-3-3 formation. In fact, La Roja would go on to have 79% of the possession in the match, illustrating their dominance.

Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe was a man on a mission in the first half though, making several top-notch saves to deny Chile an early lead. A goal line clearance by defender Edward Zenteno in the 43rd minute also contributed heavily to the score remaining 0-0 at halftime.

Following the break however, the response from Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side was immediate as Vidal scored his first goal of the night to put Chile up 1-0. An unselfish cutback from Mauricio Pinilla set up Vidal from about 12 yards out, with the Bayern Munich man firing into the corner with ease.

One would have thought that Vidal’s goal may have signaled the opening of the floodgates for Chile, but it was Bolivia who responded to going behind in the most spectacular of circumstances.

Midfielder Jhasmani Campos, who plays for Kasma SC in Kuwait, brought La Verde level with perhaps the most memorable goal so far at the Copa America Centenario. Lining up a free kick to the right-side of goal from 25 yards out, Campos wrapped his left foot around the ball and delivered a driving, curling shot that evaded the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

The stunning strike led to a mass eruption from the Bolivian players and fans in attendance, as Campos tied the match on 61 minutes with his truly special strike.

The Bolivian defense was under siege for the remainder of the match, desperately holding off waves of Chilean pressure in the hopes of earning a draw. Lampe made several more impressive stops to deny the likes of Alexis Sánchez and substitue Edson Puch as Chile pushed for a winner.

That push was halted, as was the match, when Bolivian defender Ronald Eguino appeared to be knocked unconscious with a high kick to his head. After several minutes of treatment on the pitch and after being stretchered off, Eguino was allowed to return for the game’s closing minutes, raising questions among some as to the concussion-testing protocol that Eguino went through.

The match was still 1-1 when Eguino re-entered play in the 96th minute looking to sure up the Bolivian defense, but it all came crashing down for the Bolivians shortly thereafter. Marrufo called a harsh handball  on Luis Gutiérrez deep into stoppage time to set up the penalty, which Vidal dispatched as calmly as one could imagine.

Bolivia had one final chance with the game’s final meaningful kick, but a close range strike went just wide of Bravo’s net as Chile held on for the victory.

The loss marks the second consecutive match that Bolivia have lost in the final minutes, as it was a late Blas Pérez goal that doomed them in their first match. With zero points from their first two matches and Argentina’s win on Friday, Bolivia are now eliminated from reaching the quarterfinals.

Chile meanwhile find themselves in good position to advance to the knockout stages, needing only a win or draw against Panama on Tuesday in Philadelphia to progress.

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