New England Soccer Today

Valiant Effort from Bolivia Falls Short Due to Late PK in Loss to Chile

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A controversial stoppage time penalty kick gave Chile a 2-1 victory over a determined Bolivia in front of 19,392 at Gillette Stadium on Friday night in Copa America Group D action. Arturo Vidal gave the heavily favored Chileans the lead under a minute into the second half, but substitute Jhasmai Campos scored a phenomenal free kick in the 61st minute to knot the score at 1-1. From there Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe came up huge to keep the match on level footing, until eight minutes into stoppage time a controversial handball call gave Chile a penalty kick that Vidal converted to give the Chileans the lead.

“I don’t think that that was a penalty kick,” said Bolivian coach Julio Baldivieso through a translator. “I think that’s an atrocity.”

The win leaves Chile in the hunt to advance, while Bolivia was eliminated with the loss. Both sides entered the match in need of a result with Chile falling 2-1 to tournament favorites Argentina in their opener, while Bolivia lost 2-1 to Panama to kickoff Group D.

“We clearly deserved this victory,” said Chilean coach Juan Pizzi through a translator. “We had control of the ball, we had a lot of opportunities. We had everything we needed to win. We just needed a little more precision, a little intensity, especially in the first half where we had a lot of margin to improve. The second half we still could’ve improved, but we played closer to the level we hoped to achieve.”

On paper, fifth ranked Chile—featuring stars including Arsenal’s Alexi Sanchez, Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal, and FC Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo—were the large favorites over 82nd ranked Chile and their superiority showed early as much of the play was controlled in Bolivia’s half.

Still, Bolivia largely managed to keep Chile at bay in the first half. Chile’s best opportunity came in the 40th minute. Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe cleared out an initial chance, but it fell to Sanchez with the goalkeeper out of position. Sanchez powered a shot on frame, but defender Edward Zenteno impressively blocked the shot on the goal line.

The breakthrough would come quickly in the second period, however, as Chile would take the lead just seconds in. The favorites quickly broke into the attacking third with Mauricio Pinilla getting the ball in the box and sliding a pass to Vidal, who slotted it past Lampe to give the Chileans the lead.

But Bolivia would find an equalizer in the 61st minute after earning a free kick just outside the box on the right side. Jhasmani Campos, who entered the match just shortly before as a substitute, would step up to take the set piece and perfectly curl a free kick into the far upper corner to make it 1-1.

Sanchez almost put Chile back in the lead with an impressive free kick of his own to the near post in the 72nd minute. Only an impressive diving save from Lampe kept the score even.

Two minutes later it was Lampe again stealing the show after some more offensive pressure from Chile. This time he denied Vidal on a shot from point blank range.

Unfortunately for Lampe and Bolivia, a controversial penalty kick call deep into stoppage time would decide the game as Luis Gutierrez was whistled for a handball. Vidal buried the penalty to make it 2-1 and give Chile an important victory.

The result leaves Chile group D with a chance to advance with a result in its final group match with Bolivia is eliminated before its final match. Chile concludes Group D play against Panama and Bolivia finishes against Argentina.

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