Chile 1 – 0 Peru
Estadio Mundialista Mendoza, July 12 – Group C
One of the positives we could take from the lack of action at the start of the 43rd Copa America was that there would be less dead rubbers in the last round of group games. Not here though, with Claudio Borghi and Sergio Markarian making 15 changes to their sides knowing they had already progressed to the quarter finals.
Chile lined up in their usual 3-4-1-2 and followed the same attacking philosophy as always, yet Peru opted to switch to a 3-5-2, giving both sides a spare man at the back and matching numbers in midfield. To escape this, Humberto Suazo dropped deeper than usual in an attempt to give Chile more men in the middle, while Esteban Paredes led the line, albeit hovering more towards the right.
The game looked quite exciting at first, with Peru chasing Chile high up the pitch and making it near impossible for them to pass out of defence. However, given they didn’t actually win the ball back, they perhaps did not feel it was sustainable and lowered the intensity, and with it the game settled into a slower paced battle.
As you would expect, it was Chile who controlled the game, but they rarely looked dangerous. They kept possession well, their intricate passing sometimes getting them in behind Peru, but Markarian’s side mostly contained them.
If Peru were going to get anything, it looked like it was going to come from the lively William Chiroque or, perhaps more likely, a mistake by Chile’s backline, who looked a touch complacent on occasion and somewhat susceptible to balls played in behind them.
With Peru still not looking to attack, Jean Beausejour’s red card meant little, it just ensured it would be harder for Chile to keep possession and stretch play.
Once again, it was a set piece that sealed the win, of both the match and group, for Chile – only one of their four goals so far having come from open play. A corner went in and Salomon Libman looked unconvincing when he came to collect, as he had done all game, and the ball bounced off Aldo Corzo to give Chile the win.
With so many changes made, any conclusions we make from the game don’t really matter unless illness spreads throughout either team’s first elevens, but the change to a more obviously defensive set-up by Markarian might be an indicator of a plan B for the later rounds, meanwhile Chile, for all their attacking intent, still rarely look threatening – which applies to both the reserves and first-teamers.