Alexis, Vargas braces lead Chile to Copa America quarterfinals
Reigning champion Chile will continue to defend its Copa America crown after punching a ticket to the quarterfinals with a 4-2 win over Panama at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas each scored twice, as Chile battled back from an early deficit to coast to the three points.
Chile just needed a draw, as it held a goal-differential edge over Los Canaleros entering the game, and Panama was supremely shorthanded. Starters Blas Perez, Anibal Godoy, Felipe Baloy and Armando Cooper were all suspended for card accumulation.
It started off well enough for Panama anyway, with Miguel Camargo's long-range blast being misplayed into the net by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the fifth minute.
After then, it was all Chile. Vargas scored in the 15th and 43rd minutes, and Sanchez added a spectacular volley off a pass from Vargas to make it 3-1 in the 50th.
Panama did pull one back in the 76th minute through Abdiel Arroyo, but it was another fumble by Bravo on the goal line that allowed the ball to cross.
Sanchez finished off the result with an 89th-minute header, erasing any hope Panama had at going through.
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Chile, barring a collapse of epic proportions by Argentina against Bolivia, will play Mexico in the quarterfinals.