Chile missed out on to the opportunity to become the first team to make it through to the last eight of the Copa América following an exhilarating 3-3 draw against Mexico in Group A. Arturo Vidal scored twice and Vargas claimed the other but it was not enough for victory for the side captained by blaugrana Claudio Bravo. Mexico took the lead twice in the first half through Vuoso and Raúl Jiménez and then Vuoso scored again in the second to level things up at 3-3. Mexico proved they are not simply in South America to make up the numbers and still have a chance of making it to the knock out stage with their final group game still to come against Ecuador. Chile face Bolivia in their last fixture in the opening phase.
Quiet opening spell
Following on from their win against Ecuador last Thursday, host nation Chile knew that a win against Mexico would see them become the first team to book their place in the Copa América quarter-finals. Their opponents, one of two sides invited to take part in the tournament alongside Jamaica, also harboured hopes of making it through to the last eight after a goalless draw in their opening game against Bolivia. Mexico had to deal with the absence of 36 year old ex-Barça man Rafa Márquez, who was ruled out due to an injury picked up in his side’s first game of the group phase. A packed National Stadium in Santiago witnessed a cagey opening quarter of an hour in which Mexico managed to nullify the threat posed by players of the quality of former blaugrana Alexis Sánchez and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal.
First half flurry of goals
The contest burst into life in spectacular fashion on 21 minutes. Chile lost the ball in midfield and were made to pay, a cross to the far post saw Medina square the ball for Vuoso to poke the ball past Claudio Bravo and give Mexico a surprise lead. It lasted just a minute, Vidal powerfully heading home Aránguiz‘s corner for his second goal in the competition to bring Chile level. The Central Americans had come to the tournament with a weakened squad, their focus is on the upcoming Gold Cup, but they refused to be cowed and on 29 minutes they were back in front. Barça keeper and Chile captain had saved brilliantly from Flores, turning his powerful header on to the crossbar. However, from the resultant corner, Atlético Madrid striker Jiménez looped an impressive header over the Zamora trophy winner to give his side a 2-1 lead. The goals just kept coming, helped by some poor defending by both sides with Vargas making the score 2-2 at half time with another well placed header from a precise Vidal cross.
Two disallowed efforts for Chile
The restart saw Bravo straight into the action, saving smartly from Jiménez as Mexico came out confidently following their opening half performance. However. they fell behind for the first time in the contest when Vidal scored his second from the penalty sport after he himself had been felled in the area byFlores. The hosts appeared to be heading for victory, Valdivia unlucky not to make it 4-2 when his goal was ruled out for offside. Mexico had other ideas though and Alderete‘s long ball over the top caught the Chile defence ball watching and the Argentine born striker beat the onrushing Bravo to level things up at 3-3. Alexis had the ball in the back of the net with 10 minutes to go but the Arsenal man’s effort was ruled out once more for offside. Chile will now have to wait until Friday’s game against Bolivia (8.30pm local time) to secure their place in the quarter-finals.