Jorge Sampaoli described Chile’s 1-0 triumph against defending champions Uruguay as a “defining moment” in the nation’s bid for Copa America glory.
Mauricio Isla was the hero for Chile, with his 81st-minute strike enough to see the hosts past nine-man Uruguay, who had Edinson Cavani and Jorge Fucile sent off in the second half on Wednesday.
Uruguay were effective in Santiago, with their defensive structure stifling Chile before things fell apart during the final nine minutes as Sampaoli’s men – four-time runners-up – booked a spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 1999.
“Beating Uruguay is a defining moment and an important step because Uruguay at this stage are difficult for any team,” he said.
“Chile won against a difficult team who were never resigned to the option of a draw.
“We beat very good opponents and played well, despite failing to create a lot of chances in relation to the domination we enjoyed. The game went as we expected. If we didn’t score early, it would be complicated.”
Sampaoli, whose team will face the winner of Bolivia’s clash with Peru in Santiago on Monday, added: “We knew we were in for a hard game so long as it remained scoreless. We tried to find the right formula.
“We wanted to generated changes. With the red card [to Cavani], we got on top.”
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