Quarterfinal 1 (June 24, 2015)
Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile
Hosts Chile beat 9-man holders Uruguay in an ill-tempered 90 minute rumpus at the Estadio Nacional, which saw Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez and two of his players sent off. Juventus full-back Mauricio Isla broke the deadlock in the 81st minute, when he smashed the goal in and sealed the semifinal berth for Chile.
As expected, Diego Godín and José Giménez did everything they could to keep Chile’s score at nil, and it almost worked for Uruguay who were playing with 10 men after the Edinson Cavani was sent off. Cavani was not expected to feature in this match after it emerged that his father was involved in a car accident which resulted in the death of a 19-year old. This event must have caused serious trauma to Uruguay’s frontman, and he vented out his temper on everyone else but his own teammates. He received his first booking when he angrily confronted a linesman after he was judged to have fouled Chile’s Arturo Vidal. Cavani’s compatriot Jorge Fucile received his first yellow card five minutes before the half-time whistle.
As the game was resumed, Chile dominated possession and continued their onslaught on the Uruguayan defence. At the hour-mark, Óscar Tabárez replaced the ineffective Diego Rolán with 6-feet-5 forward Abel Hernández, presumably to safeguard Uruguay’s defence during setpieces, rather than to get on the scoresheet. 5 minutes later, Cavani booked for a second time as Gonzalo Jara dramatically went down after the Uruguayan frontman supposedly slapped Jara on the face.
Despite not causing any serious bodily harm, the red card shown to Cavani was justified as he was behaving like a man possessed by Joe Pesci’s character from Goodfellas. The final result was sealed right then, but it took Chile 15 more minutes to get their goal, and the crowd went jubilantly mad as Isla slotted the ball home. Jorge Fucile was sent off late on for a poor foul on Alexis Sanchez, and a full-on melee. Óscar Tabárez came running in to express his honest displeasure at the referee, and the gaffer was promptly sent off. He watched from the stands as his players walked out of the stadium with hung heads.
Although the match will be mostly be remembered for the suicidal undoing of Uruguay, what matters is that Chile are through, and they are going to face either Bolivia or Peru in the semifinals. Hopefully, Uruguay will be able to pick up the pieces and rebuild their team, with a priority to score goals and not stack their penalty box with 11 players for the entirety of 90 minutes.
Next Match: Bolivia vs Peru (live at Sony Kix from 04:45 IST)