Chile's Sanchez, Vargas shine in 4-2 win over Panama

Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:06pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Chile advanced to the quarter-finals of the Copa America on Tuesday after two goals in the first half from Eduardo Vargas and two in the second from Alexis Sanchez gave them a 4-2 win over Panama in Philadelphia.

The defending champions will play Mexico in the next round on Saturday, barring a heavy defeat for Argentina against bottom side Bolivia in the other Group D game. Argentina, who lead 3-0 in that game, would play Venezuela as group winners.

"This was important for me and for the team," said Vargas. "It has boosted our confidence for the games to come.

"We are Copa America champions but we haven't played as well as we did in the last Copa America and this will give us confidence."

Chile went behind to an early goal but roared back thanks to outstanding performances from their front pair, who ran the Panamanian defense ragged.

Panama took the lead in the fourth minute thanks to a mistake by Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who let Miguel Camargo's shot from almost 30 yards out squirm through his hands and into the net.

Chile fought back and were soon 2-1 up.

Artur Vidal and Sanchez worked a one-two in the box after 14 minutes and Sanchez's shot was only parried by Jaime Penedo and Vargas followed up to smash it home.

Three minutes before half time striker Vargas rose to glance home a header to put Chile ahead.   Continued...

Chile forward Eduardo Vargas (11) scores past Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (1) and defender Luis Henriquez (17) during the first half in the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports