Reigning champions Chile inched Ecuador by a one-goal difference in a Group C match and reached the quarter-finals of the Copa America on Saturday.
Chile’s forward Jose Fuenzalida opened the scoring in the 8th minute, hitting the ball on the inside part of the goalpost to beat a diving Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez. The 34-year-old forward took seconds to launch the ball into the post, giving Chile an upper hand in the match. But a resolved Ecuador bounced back strongly in the 26th minute when Enner Valencia equalized for them off a penalty. Valencia’s strike went past Gabriel Arias in a flash and Ecuador were back in the game.
Alexis Sanchez scored with a shot from inside the area in the 51st minute to make sure that Chile make it to the final-8 of the 2019 Copa America.
Chile, who had less possession of the ball in comparison to Ecuador, converted their half-chances meticulously to make most of the opportunity.
Chile’s 30-year-old Sanchez, who had a miserable club season with Manchester United, had also scored in Chile’s 4-0 victory against guest team Japan in the first round of the group.
Chile now joins Colombia as the two teams have qualified for the knockout stages after their first two matches.
The Chileans now lead Group C with six points in their kitty while Ecuador suffered two defeats and are gasping at the bottom of the group.
Chile will meet Uruguay and Ecuador will play Japan in the final round of the group stage on Tuesday.