Chile 5-0 Bolivia: Chile takes Group A with easy win in Santiago

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With both sides already through to the knockout rounds of the Copa America, this match decided first place in Group A, and Chile proved who deserved the top spot in convincing fashion.

A 5-0 thrashing of Bolivia in which Chile dominated every aspect of the match sends the hosts into the next round looking primed for a deep run.

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Chile’s dominance started immediately, as Charles Aranguiz put the hosts ahead less than three minutes into the match. Gary Medel played a perfectly weighted ball over the top to Eduardo Vargas, who stuck out a leg to control. Vargas’ touch fell back to Aranguiz, who fired home to the delight of the sold-out crowd at Estadio Nacional in Santiago.

With a lead inside the opening five minutes, La Roja were in cruise control.

After dominating possession and forcing Bolivia to exert quite a bit of energy defending, Chile made it 2-0 when Alexis Sanchez’s diving header found the side netting in the 37th minute. The Arsenal winger took the ball from midfield on a streaking run forward, and played Jorge Valdivia wide to his right. Valdivia chipped a cross back into the box, where Sanchez went full-extension to connect on a perfect header from nearly 15 yards out.

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The goal capped off a brilliant first half for Sanchez, who had already been rejected twice by the woodwork off two well-struck free kicks. Both Sanchez and Arturo Vidal were subbed off at halftime, with manager Jorge Sampaoli wanting his star players to avoid injury and get some rest before the knockout rounds.

The second half showed more lopsided play, as the Chileans continuously strung together series of quick passes, with Bolivia seemingly always a step too slow.

Aranguiz tallied his second of the night in the 66th minute, taking a low cross from Angelo Henriquez and finishing at the back post. Henriquez is a bright young talent for Chile, as the 21-year-old is under contract with Manchester United and led the Croatian league in scoring this season on loan at Dinamo Zagreb.

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Gary Medel would add a fourth for Chile, as the man they call “The Pitbull” showed a flash of skill, controlling with his chest before chipping over Romel Quinonez in goal. Ronald Raldes would score an own goal in the 86th minute, just adding to the rough day for Bolivia.

Heading into the knockout rounds, Chile looks like the most dangerous team in the tournament.