Chile advanced into the final of this year FIFA Confederation Cup in Kazan Russia, after one hundred twenty minutes of grueling and electrifying football against Portugal that ended without a goal during regular time.
The heroics of Manchester City’s goal keeper Claudio Bravo played a major role in bringing victory to the La Roja today. He saved the spots kicks from Ricardo Quaresma, Jaoa Moutinho and Luan Nani while his team mates Arturol Vidal,Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez all beat Rui Patricio from their spot kicks to give victory to the South American Champions.
The early minutes of the first half saw Portugal enjoying majority of ball the possession.
Cristiano Ronaldo, operating from the left flank, was very effective from that position.He brought into play another aspect of his game – his ability to breach defense lines with his accurate and incisive passes.
Chile had a good chance to score the opening goal of the match in the fifth minute of the game.An Alexis Sanchez’s pass found Eduardo Vagras inside Portugal’s penalty box, but his final shot failed to beat Rui Patricio.
A minute later, the Selacco had an opportunity of their own inside their opponent’s half.A Ronaldo’s pass from the left flank located an onrushing Andrea Silva, whose shot inside the six yard box was miraculously caught by Bravo.
Chile grew into the game and started to dominate ball possession. Maurico Isla repeatedly got the better Eliseu Pereira at the left flank, but his crosses into Portugal penalty box were effectively dealt with by the defense line marshaled by the duo Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves.
Aranguiz had a chance to put Chile into the lead in the thirtieth minute of the game but he allowed his nerves to get the better of him. A Vidal’s bicycle kick flew to him in an unmarked position inside Portugal’s penalty box but he volleyed the ball far away from the goal post.
The second half resumed and Chile came into the match exhibiting no sign of fatigue.They were able to build their play from the rear, using their good passing game to extricate themselves from the Portuguese forwards who were intent on playing a counter-pressing game.
The indefatiguable Arturol Vidal covered every blade of grass as he set an example of how a box-to-box mid-fielder should operate in a match.He had a chance to scored in the early minutes of the second half, but his header from Jean Beausejour,s cross flew over the crossbar.
Vidal’s flying header set up Vagras for his well-conceived and perfectly executed acrobatic kick, but Rui Patricio pushed the thunderous shot out of danger.
A Portugal’s counter- attacking play ended with Ronaldo receiving the ball in a one-on-one situation with Chile’s goal keeper, but Ronaldo’s shot was pushed out of the field of play for a corner kick by Bravo.
Ronaldo squandered another goal-scoring chance when his header from Cedric Soares’ cross went wide from the goal post.
The selacco came into the first half of the extra time with a renewed vigour.Andrea Gomes and second half substitute Quaresma were creating problems for Chile’s left full back from the flank.
Sanchez and Vidal wasted two goal-scoring chances with their mis-directed headers.
Chile almost ran a way with victory in the dying minutes of the match.Alexis Sanchez’s dribbling run caused a goal mouth melee, and Portugal had a slice of fortune on their side for not conceding a goal. A skillfully side-footed shot from Vidal hit the goal post and the rebound, which Martin Rodriguez instinctively shot at the goal post, met with the same fate as Vidal’s initial effort – it ricocheted off the goal post.
Today victory made it the third time in three years that Chile have come out victorious via the lottery of penalty kicks; they have clinched two back-to-back Copa America Cup victories, beating Argentina by penalty shoot-outs on the two occasions.
The La Roja will now have to wait for the outcome of tomorrow’s match between Mexico and Germany to know their opponent in the final match of this year FIFA Confederation Cup.