Brazil Reaches Copa America Semifinal After Pulsating Encounter With Chile

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Brazil survived losing Gabriel Jesus to a red card early in the second half to defeat Chile 1-0 in a thrilling Copa America tie on Saturday and advance to the semifinal next week.

The host nation will play Peru, which beat Paraguay on penalties earlier in the day, at Rio de Janeiro’s Nilton Santos stadium on July 5. The other quarterfinals will be played on Sunday , with Argentina playing Ecuador and Uruguay facing Colombia.

After an even and goalless first 45 minutes, the match sparked into life within seconds of the restart, when substitute Lucas Paqueta worked a scrappy one-two with Neymar and then held off Gary Medel to fire home from close range.

However, the outlook changed less than two minutes later. Brazil was reduced to 10 men after Gabriel Jesus was shown a straight red for a horrific kung-fu kick that sent Eugenio Mena tumbling.

Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta celebrates scoring during the Brazil vs Chile Copa America quarterfinal game on Saturday.   –  AP

 

Brazil is unused to being under pressure, especially at home, but Chile forced the side onto the back foot for large parts of the second half as it poured forward in search of an equaliser. Ben Brereton, the English-born striker who replaced Alexis Sanchez at half-time, hit the bar with a looping header and Ederson made at least two good saves.

But the Chileans, winners in 2015 and 2016, could not get the goal and crashed out.

“We were beaten by the favourites, the team playing at home,” said Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal. “At least we will leave with our heads held high.”

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