Copa America semi-finals: Can Peru conquer high-flying hosts Chile?
Rampant host nation Chile have stormed into the Copa America semi-finals this summer, having kept three clean sheets so far in the tournament and conceding only three goals in total, but they face surprise package Peru who possess plenty of firepower capable of causing an upset (7/1 with Coral to win).
A late strike from QPR defender Mauricio Isla helped the Chileans clinch a narrow 1-0 triumph over Uruguay in their quarter-final clash, during a heated encounter which saw Edinson Cavani sent-off for an apparent altercation with Gonzalo Jaro, who will serve a three-match ban for his involvement.
Peru enjoyed a more comfortable progression to this stage of the competition, after overcoming Bolivia 3-1, with Paolo Guerrero’s hat-trick earning Ricardo Gareca’s men a semi-final spot, as they aim to claim their third ever Copa crown.
Jorge Sampaoli’s hosts will hope star striker Alexis Sanchez can continue his fine form and the clinical Arsenal attacker is 9/4 to fire Chile to victory in 90 minutes, while Juventus midfield maestro Arturo Vidal is also a dangerous forward threat to the Peruvians.
With both Chile stars on top of their game on home turf this summer, odds of 13/2 can be had on Sanchez and Vidal striking within normal time, with the latter currently joint top scorer in the tournament so far with three goals.
Although, the talented Turin enforcer is level with Peru’s Guerrero, who is fresh off the back of dispatching a terrific quarter-final treble, and is 12/1 to slot home two or more again in 90 minutes.
With Brazil having been eliminated from the tournament at the hands of Paraguay on penalties, all four coaches left in the Copa America are from Argentina, including Peru’s confident Gareca, who is hoping to improve on their semi-final defeat four years ago, before his tenure.
“It is unprecedented that four Argentine coaches reach the semi-finals. It’s great, but I do not think it will happen again,” stated Gareca. “Chile have a lot of pressure, a heavy burden to win due to being hosts, and we will try to take advantage.
“I still haven’t defined the the team but I have it in my head. I will decide tomorrow. We have the possibility of changing our tactics, but I cannot change the style and how we play.”
Chile are 4/1 to win in normal time and both teams to score, as they attempt to lift their maiden Copa America title on home soil, potentially becoming the first host nation to triumph since Colombia in 2001.
Betting tip: Sanchez to score and Chile to win in 90 minutes @ 9/4