Football

Peru stun champions Chile 3-0 to reach Copa America final

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Peru’s Paolo Guerrero celebrates the goal which seals a 3-0 win over Chile in the Copa America semi-finals

Peru stunned defending champions Chile 3-0 to reach the final of the Copa America for the first time in 44 years on Wednesday.

Goals from Edison Flores, Yoshimar Yotun and Paolo Guerrero handed Peru a deserved win which sends them into a final against Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

The stunning upset prevented Chile’s golden generation from challenging for a third straight title, following their wins over Argentina in 2015 and 2016.

Instead the finalists from the previous two editions will meet in Saturday’s third-place play-off in Sao Paulo.

Little was expected of Peru in the knock-out stages after they ended the group phase with a humbling 5-0 thrashing by Brazil.

But after riding their luck — and being saved by VAR three times — to beat Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-final, they were a completely rejuvenated outfit in Porto Alegre.

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“The team has gone back to its essence, passing the ball and running hard,” said goalscorer Yotun.

“The game against Brazil was tough but this will be a different match. It’s a final that’s there to be won. We have to work hard and lift this cup.”

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, the villain of that 5-0 defeat, was again faultless, as he had been in the quarter-final when decisively saving Luis Suarez’s shoot-out penalty.

He again saved a penalty and made a number of other vital stops.

“It’s painful for all of us because we fought for another title,” said Chile captain Gary Medel.

“Peru played a great match and we have to congratulate them. The played really well, worked really hard and deserve to be in the final.”

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From the start Peru dominated the reigning champions, with Christian Cueva wastefully shooting wide two minutes in after he was teed up in space by his captain Guerrero.

On seven minutes Chile’s Charles Aranguiz started and finished a superb passing move involving Alexis Sanchez and Jean Beausejour, by placing a precise shot just past the post.

Flores took advantage of an Erick Pulgar slip in midfield to dart towards goal but he dragged his weak shot woefully wide.

But a minute later he was alone at the back post to lash home left footed from an Andre Carillo flick on from Cueva’s cross.

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