Copa America: Alexis Sanchez scores a brace as Chile storm past Panama

Philadelphia: Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas scored two goals each as Chile advanced to the quarter-finals of the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over Panama.

The defending champions responded to the shock of falling behind to a Miguel Camargo goal after only five minutes, with two goals by Vargas before Arsenal star Sanchez grabbed a third. Sanchez added his second in the 89th minute to complete the rout.

The Chileans will meet Group C winners Mexico in the quarter-final on Saturday, while Group D winners Argentina will meet Venezuela in the other quarter-final.

Chile players celebrate with teammates after scoring against Panama during their Copa America match. AFP

Chile players celebrate after scoring against Panama during their Copa America match. AFP

Chile will be disappointed advance to the quarter-finals still searching for their best form after twice conceding against modest opponents who were thumped 5-0 by Argentina in their previous outing.

The Chileans were given a scare early on when Camargo gave the Panamanians an early lead. Chile defender Gonzalo Jara was the culprit, giving away possession with a lazy pass out of defense that allowed Panama to pounce.

The ball arrived at Camargo's feet and the midfielder let fly with a venomous low shot which Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo failed to grasp to leave Panama 1-0 up.

Chile hit back quickly however, leveling through Vargas, who tapped in from close range after Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo could only half block a Sanchez shot.

Gary Medel should have headed Chile into the lead on 38 minutes, stealing in unmarked at the back post but heading over from a Sanchez corner.

Yet two minutes before the break, Chile took the lead, Vargas heading in a cross from the left for 2-1.

Five minutes into the second half, it was 3-1. Vargas picked out Sanchez with a lofted pass from one side of the penalty area to the other and the Arsenal star showed great technique to lash a first-time volley into the roof of the net.

Chile were jolted by a second Panama goal on 75 minutes, when Abdiel Arroyo headed in a free-kick from Ricardo Buitrago to make it 3-2 but finished on top to seal the win when Sanchez added his second.


Updated Date: Jun 15, 2016 09:59 AM

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