Published on The AOSN
The Copa America got underway in Santiago, Chile at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos as hosts Chile kick-started their campaign against Ecuador. The much anticipated tournament was spectated by a sold-out stadium of 47,000 and watched by millions around the world.
Chile defeated Ecuador 2-0 thanks to goals from Arturo Vidal from the penalty spot and substitute Eduardo Vargas.
Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile side started the game brightly, showing no signs of nervousness and got right into the game early on.
The hosts come close to opening the scoring inside just two minutes as Jorge Valdivia found Alexis Sanchez, who made space for himself between two defenders but failed to convert after his effort went wide of the mark.
Despite playing some good football and cutting through the Ecuador defense on numerous occasions, Chile had failed to find the back of the net as the half-time whistle sounded.
Eventually Chile got the breakthrough they were looking for as Arturo Vidal was pulled down just inside the penalty area from Miler Bolanos in the 65th minute, a soft foul to give away in a spell where Ecuador looked most comfortable and dangerous on the counter through Jefferson Montero. Arturo Vidal stepped up and dispatched the penalty perfectly, powerfully placing the ball into the top corner, scoring the first goal of the Copa America 2015.
Ecuador came extremely close to equalizing in the 81st minute when a Walter Ayovi lofted pass found Enner Valencia eight yards out, but Valencia failed to direct his header on target as the ball rebounded off the crossbar.
Moments later, Chile cemented the victory, Alexis Sanchez pounced on a misplaced back-pass by substitute Renato Ibarra and played through Eduardo Vargas, who converted and guaranteed all three points for Chile on a night of celebration for La Roja.
The night however, ended on a slightly sour note for the hosts as attacking midfielder Matias Fernandez was dismissed for a second bookable offence after a mistimed challenge in the 93nd minute, resulting in him being suspended for the Mexico game.