Fri | May 26, 2017

Hosts Chile reach Copa semis

Published:Friday | June 26, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Uruguay's Edinson Cavani (left) argues with Chile's Gonzalo Jara (right) during a Copa America quarter-final match at the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday night. Cavani was sent off as Chile defeated Uruguay 1-0.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP):

Hosts Chile's hopes of winning the 2015 Copa AmÈrica sharply improved with a 1-0 win over defending champions Uruguay on Wednesday.

Defender Mauricio Isla scored an 81st-minute winner to lead the hosts to the semi-finals of the South American tournament, delighting the home crowd and an entire country.

Chile dominated the game from the start and Isla finally broke the deadlock with a low shot from just inside the area, after a pass by Jorge Valdivia, advancing his team to the tournament's semi-finals for the first time in 16 years.

"This is the most important goal I've scored in my life," said Isla, who is coming off a difficult season with Queens Park Rangers in England. "For being at home, with the national team, for everything."

Chile will play the winners of last night's match between Bolivia and Peru. In the other quarter-final matchups, Argentina play Colombia and Brazil face Paraguay.

Uruguay, trying to make it to the semi-finals for the sixth-straight time, played a man down from the 63rd, after star striker Edinson Cavani was shown his second yellow card of the match for apparently slapping Chile's Gonzalo Jara away from the ball. Television images later showed that Cavani reacted immediately after Jara provoked him by putting his hand on the Uruguayan's bottom.

Cavani's first yellow was for complaining to the linesman in the 30th.

PERSONAL ORDEAL

Cavani entered the match enduring a personal ordeal back in Uruguay, where his father was detained after allegedly driving drunk and being involved in an accident that killed a motorcyclist.

Uruguay lost another player in the 88th, when defender Jorge Fucile also was sent off for a second yellow. Uruguay players loudly complained to Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci and a linesman, and the game was stopped for nearly five minutes. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was sent off for leaving the coaches' box.