Peru ends Chile's reign as Copa America champion and reaches its first final in 44 years.

By Associated Press
July 03, 2019

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Peru stunned two-time defending Chile in the semifinals of the Copa América on Wednesday, setting up a final against host Brazil on Sunday.

Edison Flores, Yoshimar Yotún and Paolo Guerrero scored a goal each to lead Peru to a 3-0 win and a spot in the final for the first time since 1975, when it last won the South American tournament.

The result kept Chile from adding to its titles from 2015 and 2016, ending its hopes of becoming the first team to win three straight South American trophies since Argentina in the 1940s.

Flores opened the scoring with a shot from inside the area in the 21st minute and Yotún added to the lead in the 38th with a strike into the open net after Chile goalkeeper Gabriel Arias left the area to try to stop a counterattack.

Guerrero sealed the victory in stoppage time to become the Copa América’s all-time leading scorer among active players with 13 goals.

Chile’s Eduardo Vargas could have matched Guerrero when his team was awarded a penalty kick in the final seconds, but he had his weak shot from the spot saved by Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru, which had already surprised title-favorite Uruguay in the quarterfinals, barely made it out of the group stage after a demoralizing 5-0 loss to Brazil, advancing as one of the best third-place finishers from the three groups.

It had lost seven of its last eight competitive matches against Chile, including in the semifinals of the Copa América in 2015.

Chile’s defeat to its longtime rival will raise further questions about its so-called golden generation, which failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The result will also add pressure on Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda, who had been criticized since he took over the squad at the beginning of last year.

The veterans of Chile’s recent triumphs, including Vargas, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sánchez, had subpar performances at the Arena Grêmio in Porto Alegre.

Chile pressed forward during most of the match but couldn’t capitalize on its scoring opportunities, being stopped on a great performance by Gallese. The Peruvian goalkeeper made an embarrassing mistake in the rout against Brazil, but had already saved penalty kicks by Uruguay’s Luis Suárez and Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus.

Peru, which last year made its first World Cup appearance in 36 years, was playing in the semifinals for the third time in the last four Copa Américas.

The rivalry between Chile and Peru dates to the 19th Century. The nations fought in the War of the Pacific from 1879-84, with Chile coming out victorious against a Peru-Bolivia alliance and taking over some key land with access to the Pacific Ocean.

Chile and Argentina, who met in the last two Copa América finals, will play in the third-place game on Saturday.

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