Vidal strikes twice as Chile needs controversial PK to beat Bolivia

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Chile was heavily favored to knock off Bolivia on Friday, but this Copa America Centenario hasn’t followed story lines.

The reigning champions did manage to knock off Bolivia, but it took every second on the clock and a questionable PK to lift Chile to a 2-1 win on Friday in Foxborough.

The win move Chile level on points with Argentina and Panama before the two square off later Friday. Bolivia remains last with zero points, but is technically alive.

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Vidal scored early in the second half, but Jhasmani Campos equalized with an amazing free kick around the hour mark. After eight minutes of stoppage time, Vidal converted a PK off an arm-blocked cross in the 18.

Chile outshot Bolivia handily in the match, carrying a 7-1 edge at halftime, 17-2 for the game and attempting 26 crosses to Bolivia’s three.

But it took a combination play between Vidal and Mauricio Pinilla to break through.

Forget the shot difference. With the numbers at 15-2, Bolivia put No. 2 in the goal on a stunning free kick from Jhasmani Campos.

There was a scary moment late, as Ronald Eguino took Eduardo Vargas‘ overhead kick attempt to the face. Not the ball, the actual kick.

That’s when referee Jair Marrufo called an extremely questionable handball on Bolivia in the eighth minute of stoppage time, allowing Chile a chance to win.

Luis Alberto Gutiérrez had his arm tucked behind his back but elbow pointed out when he turned and leapt to get in the way of a cross. The ball caught his upper arm, which the MLS veteran referee saw as the defender making himself bigger.

Vidal converted the chance, and it was 2-1.