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Chile 5 Bolivia 0: Copa America hosts clinch Group A with rout

Arturo Vidal’s recent off-field misdemeanour failed to derail Chile as the Copa America hosts charged towards the quarter-finals in emphatic fashion, accounting for Bolivia 5-0.

The lead in to Chile’s final group fixture was dominated by Vidal, who made a public apology after his driver’s licence was revoked for crashing his car while under the influence of alcohol in Santiago on Tuesday.

However, Chile put the incident aside as they clinched spot in Group A ahead of Bolivia courtesy of Charles Aranguiz’s brace in the capital on Friday.

Aranguiz’s two-goal haul came either side of Alexis Sanchez’s first-half header – his first goal of the tournament.

Gary Medel and an unfortunate own goal from Ronald Raldes completed the scoring during the final 11 minutes.

Chile topped the group with seven points from three matches, ahead of Bolivia (4), Ecuador (3) and Mexico (2).

Jean Beausejour returned to Chile’s starting line-up at the expense of Miiko Albornoz.

Mauricio Soria made four changes for Bolivia, with Edemir Rodriguez, Cristian Coimbra, Pablo Escobar and Walter Veizaga replacing Edward Zenteno, Damian Lizio, Miguel Hurtado and Danny Bejarano.

Both teams were assured of progression after Ecuador downed Mexico 2-1 earlier on Friday and Chile wasted no time stamping their authority on proceedings, Aranguiz putting the host nation ahead after just three minutes.

Medel picked out Eduardo Vargas with a long lofted pass and the latter cushioned the ball in the path of Aranguiz, who made no mistake inside the penalty area.

Chile continued to dominate possession and they almost doubled their lead in the 19th minute via Sanchez after the Arsenal star saw his free-kick hit the outside of the post.

The woodwork denied Sanchez again 12 minutes later, when his set-piece sailed over the wall and cannoned off the crossbar.

Sanchez finally got the goal he deserved eight minutes before half-time, having started and completed a counter-attacking move.

Bolivia gifted away possession on the half-way line and Sanchez pounced, playing the ball out wide to Jorge Valdivia, who delivered a cross for his team-mate to dive low and head powerfully past goalkeeper Romel Quinonez.

Vargas missed the opportunity to put the result virtually beyond doubt in the 41st minute after dragging his shot wide of the target, with the goal gaping at his mercy.

Sanchez and Vidal were withdrawn at the break, and their absence took the sting out of the match, though Chile still managed to breach Bolivia’s defence.

Aranguiz netted his second of the match in the 66th minute, substitute Angelo Henriquez squaring the ball across the six-yard box for his team-mate to poke home from close range.

Medel got in on the action in a rare foray forward 11 minutes from time after the combative midfielder looped the ball over the onrushing Quinonez.

Bolivia’s defeat was capped by defender Raldes, whose attempted clearance flew over his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net in the 86th minute.

Sat 20 Jun, 2015
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