Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli was impressed by Peru’s counter-attacks in Monday’s Copa America semi-final, while he hailed the influence of his half-time substitutes in the hosts’ 2-1 win.
Despite having Carlos Zambrano sent off in the 20th minute, Peru managed to stick with Chile throughout the match in Santiago, levelling at 1-1 on the hour mark only for Eduardo Vargas to produce a stunning winner for the home side four minutes later.
Peru striker Paolo Guerrero did well as the lone man up front, holding possession with his back to goal and setting up team-mates on the break, while Jefferson Farfan was also dangerous, coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions.
At his post-match media conference, Sampaoli claimed Peru “played a great game” and “took advantage of [Chile’s] disorder” to create goal-scoring opportunities.
The 55-year-old coach applauded the impact David Pizarro and Eugenio Mena made after coming on at the start of the second half with Chile leading 1-0.
“We looked for variants that would give us the chance to take advantage and really hit the second half,” Sampaoli said.
“Pizarro joined to speed up the proceedings in midfield with his passing.”
Pizarro teed up what could have been Chile’s second goal just after half-time, chipping the ball over to Vargas, who volleyed home on the turn, only for the offside flag to be raised.
Vargas had put Chile in front three minutes before the break and after Gary Medel’s own goal saw Peru equalise, the Napoli striker secured victory with a 25-yard effort into the top corner.
It was Vargas’ 22nd goal for Chile, with the 25-year-old maintaining his reputation as a player who stars for his country but is much less prolific at club level.
“We have a great affinity with Vargas,” Sampaoli said.
“Every time you see him with ‘La Roja’, he gives everything.”