Waiting out a lengthy weather delay during halftime was the hardest part of Chile’s Copa America Centenario semifinal win on Wednesday night in Chicago, as two early goals powered La Roja to a 2-0 victory over Colombia. Charles Aranguiz and Jose Fuenzalida each scored within the game’s first 15 minutes to seal the victory for Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men, who will face Lionel Messi and Argentina in the Copa America Final for the second straight year, as Chile prevailed on penalty kicks in last year’s deciding match.
Conditions at Soldier Field held steady for the first half of the match, before heavy rainfall at halftime forced a delay that was in excess of two hours.
Much like the Tuesday night semifinal in Houston, it was an early goal that set the tone for the remainder of the match.
Positive work from Fuenzalida on the right wing allowed the Universidad Catolica player to deliver a decent cross into the Colombian penalty area. A backtracking Juan Cuadrado attempted to clear the danger presented by the cross for Colombia, but he only succeeded in heading the ball back towards his own net.
This allowed Aranguiz to meet the dropping ball and finish past a helpless David Ospina to put Chile 1-0 up in the 7th minute.
The lead was doubled four minutes later through Fuenzalida, who was the benefactor of some fortunate Chilean luck.
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was able to turn his defender inside out near the Colombian goal, opening up a shooting opportunity for him. Sanchez’s low drive beat Ospina for pace at his near post, only to strike the post and fall straight to Fuenzalida, who easily finished into an empty net.
Now up 2-0, Chile were able to see the lead through to halftime as Colombia struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities. James Rodriguez in particular was poor for Los Cafeteros, as the Real Madrid player was unable to put his team on his back and generate chances.
The extended halftime break threw a wrench in both teams’ plans for the second half, resulting in sloppy and uncontrolled play from both sides.
The only major incident of the second half saw Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez shown a harsh second yellow card by match official Joel Aguilar, reducing Colombia to ten men.
Down a man, Colombia were unable to get themselves back into the match, with Chile comfortably securing the win.
Chile and Argentina will contest their rematch of last year’s final for this year’s championship on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The game will also be a rematch of the Group D match between the two sides earlier in this tournament, a game Argentina won 2-1.
The United States and Colombia will play the third-place match on Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona. The match will also be a rematch as the two sides played the opening match of the Copa America Centenario against one another, with Colombia winning 2-0.