Hosts Chile brushed aside Bolivia 5-0 at the Copa America on Friday to finish top of Group A and ensure they remain in the capital Santiago for their quarter-final. Midfielder Charles Aranguiz scored twice and Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez grabbed his first goal of the tournament as Chile cruised to victory in a one-sided encounter at the national stadium.
Full back Gary Medel added a fourth, Bolivian captain Ronald Raldes scored an own-goal and Sanchez hit the woodwork twice against a Bolivia side that offered little in the way of resistance. Despite their defeat, Bolivia finished second in the group and also progress to the last eight.
Ecuador, who beat Mexico 2-1 earlier, will have to wait for other results to see if they go through, while Mexico, who came to the Copa with an understrength side, are eliminated.
“I’m happy with the victory and for the number of goals we scored because we weren’t scoring enough,” playmaker Jorge Valdivia said.
“It’s best for it to be this way, for us to be getting better with each match. We have to keep on improving.”
Chile made the perfect start, Aranguiz putting them ahead after three minutes.
Medel launched a long ball forward, striker Eduardo Vargas hooked it back with his first touch and Aranguiz ran on to it to fire home a powerful shot from the edge of the box.
After Sanchez had hit both posts, he finally found the back of the net after 37 minutes, meeting a Valdivia cross with a diving, glancing header into the bottom corner.
The Chileans continued their domination after the break, Aranguiz scoring his second from close range in the 66th minute.
Medel, a hard-tackling defender, capped a fine night for the hosts with a goal worthy of a striker, chesting down a pass from Valdivia before chipping a delicate lob over the oncoming goalkeeper.
Raldes then deflected a right cross into his own goal to complete a miserable night for the Bolivians.
Chile’s victory comes at the end of a difficult week dominated by news of their midfielder Arturo Vidal, who was charged with drink-driving after spending an afternoon off from the Copa drinking at a casino.
“These things are obviously awkward but today was all about football,” said veteran midfielder David Pizarro, who came on as a substitute for his first Copa America appearance for 16 years.
“He knows he did something wrong but he’s turned over a new leaf.”