SAO PAULO, June 29: Champions Chile maintained their hopes of a third straight Copa America victory after beating Colombia on penalties on Friday to reach the semifinals.
Chile could have won the game in normal time but had two goals ruled out for marginal decisions in a scoreless draw, before Alexis Sanchez stroked home the winning spot-kick.
It was just rewards for the champions after dominating a match in which Colombia held on thanks to a couple of tight VAR calls. Charles Aranguiz had a goal ruled out in the first half for a marginal offside against Sanchez in the build up to the move.
And after Arturo Vidal shot low into the far corner on 70th minutes, that was chalked off for a handball against Guillermo Maripan, who had teed up the Barcelona midfielder.
Following eight successful penalties, William Tesillo casually put his effort wide for Colombia, leaving Sanchez to be the hero, as the Manchester United forward continues to make up in Brazil for a dreadful club season.
�We dominated practically the whole match. It was a great match against a team with a lot of quality,� said Vidal.
�We scored two goals that unfortunately VAR annulled. We deserved to have won in normal time, we couldn�t, but we managed to score the five penalties and went into the next round.�
They will face either Uruguay, who beat them 1-0 in the group stages on Monday, or Peru in Wednesday�s semifinal in Porto Alegre.
�Penalties are more in the hands of God than the players, that�s the way they�ve always been and always will be,� moaned Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz.
The first half was dominated by Chile�s 16th minute goal being controversially disallowed.
Jean Beausejour made a surging, overlapping run down the left and his inviting cross was spilled by Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina after Davinson Sanchez got in his way, allowing Aranguiz to nip in and slot home from a tight angle.
But much to the bemusement of many watching, the referee consulted VAR and the goal was chalked off for the most marginal of offsides.
Until then, Colombia had been the better side. On five minutes, a Radamel Falcao cushioned header found Roger Martinez but the forward wanted an extra touch and his goal-bound volley was charged down.
James Rodriguez then had a free-kick in a dangerous position but failed to clear the defensive wall.
Ospina made an incredible one-handed save on 12th minutes to keep out an Eduardo Vargas header from a Jose Fuenzalida cross, but it wouldn�t have counted anyway as the ball was deemed to have been out of play.
Soon after the disallowed goal tempers flared as Sanchez squared up to Wilmar Barrios, only to then find himself face-to-face with Colombia�s giant centre-back Yerry Mina. � AFP