Chile down Ecuador 2-0 in Copa America opener
Chile launched their quest for Copa America glory with a 2-0 victory over Ecuador as the South American football showpiece kicked off here Thursday.
Juventus star Arturo Vidal and Napoli’s Eduardo Vargas struck in the second half to give the Chileans a winning start in Group A as they chase a first Copa America crown in 99 years of trying.Vidal bounced back from the disappointment of last week’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona to bury a 67th-minute penalty before Vargas sealed victory six minutes from time.
Roared on by a passionate home crowd in Santiago, Chile began at a furious pace, twice threatening in the opening minutes after slicing Ecuador open.Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez was the first to go close, latching onto a through ball from Jorge Valdivia before poking a low shot just wide of the post beyond the advancing Alexander Dominguez in the second minute.
Dominguez was pressed into action by Sanchez again moments later, but the tall goalkeeper judged the striker’s attempted lob and gathered with ease.
After surviving the early onslaught, Ecuador gave Chile a scare at the other end on 18 minutes when Fidel Martinez pounced on slack defending to draw a fine save from Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Ecuador continued to frustrate the home side but Chile always looked the likeliest to score, Sanchez again going close with a shot that rolled just wide on 39 minutes. West Ham striker Enner Valencia set alarm bells ringing in the Chile defence shortly after half-time but <g data-gr-id="20">sidefooted</g> wide after being picked out by Swansea’s Jefferson Montero.