Colombia 0-0 Chile (4-5 Pens): Alexis Sanchez Steps Up in Shootout to Knock Out Los Cafeteros

​Chile have booked their place in the semi-finals of this year’s Copa América following a dramatic penalty shootout win over Colombia, setting up a match with either Uruguay or Peru. It was a close one to call before a ball had even been kicked at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, but throughout the opening 10 minutes it looked as though that Chile – the two-time defending champions – would be undone by their own nerves. Despite their slow start, it was actually Colombia’s David Ospina who was called into action first, stopping a powerful drive at his near post from veteran winger José Pedro Fuenzalida. Chile then found a way past the goalkeeper when the ball was nudged just over the line by Charles Aránguiz, but the Video Assistant Referee pulled the play quite far back to rule the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder’s goal out for offside. Aside from Alexis Sánchez squaring up to defender Yerry Mina – an encounter where you really have to see it to understand just how ludicrous it is – talking points were few and far between throughout the remainder of the first half. But if La Roja thought that call from VAR in the first half was harsh, its decision to rule out a second goal (this time from Arturo Vidal) for handball unsurprisingly left players and fans very frustrated. It looked for all the world that lady luck was on Colombia’s side, and Los Cafeteros were able to hold on to take the match to a penalty shootout. The first eight were perfect, with Chile’s Vidal, Eduardo Vargas, Erick Pulgar and Aránguiz all placing the ball in exactly the same sport – slightly off centre, just to the goalkeeper’s right, and always smashed into the roof of the net. James Rodriguez, Edwin Cardona, Juan Cuadrado and Mina matched Chile’s opening four penalty kicks, but William Tesillo tried to be too clever with his effort and ended up curling it wide of the post. That presented Manchester United star Sánchez to win the quarter-final match for Chile, and the 30-year-old made no mistake from 12 yards by sending his former Arsenal teammate the wrong way, leaving La Roja one win away from another Copa América final.

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