The last round of matches in Group A on Matchday Three of the Copa América saw another goal glut, as Ecuador faced Mexico followed by host nation Chile locking horns with Bolivia.
Ecuador were finally able to record their first points of the tournament after back-to-back losses, defeating Mexico 2-1 in Rancagua thanks to goals from Miller Bolaños and Enner Valencia in each half. Meanwhile, four-time runners up Chile obliterated a hapless Bolivia side 5-0 in Santiago later in the evening, meaning the host nation finish at the top of Group A on seven points, ahead of Bolivia on four points, Ecuador on three and Mexico on two.
Matchday Three began with Gustavo Quinteros’ Ecuador facing twice runner-up Mexico at the Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua, with Ecuador in particular needing a win to have any hope of progressing to the Quarter Final stage. The Ecuadoreans started off the stronger of the two sides, and after producing a string of chances they would eventually take the lead after 26 minutes through Emelec striker Miller Bolaños, who fired into the roof of the net from close range after pouncing on Valencia’s miscued shot at the back post. Mexico were unable to respond, as Quinteros’ men entered half time with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second-half began in relatively scrappy fashion, with Valencia threatening to double La Tri’s lead, but the West Ham striker’s header sailed over the crossbar. However, twelve minutes after the restart, it would be Valencia who would ultimately put the result beyond reach, coolly firing the ball past Corona into the bottom corner after Bolaños had played him through. After a chance for Vuoso went begging, Mexico were then awarded a penalty after 64 minutes, when Gabriel Achillier bundled over Hugo Ayala from a corner. Atlético Madrid misfit Raúl Jiménez calmly dispatched the resulting spot kick, but it was not enough to prevent Ecuador from recording a 2-1 victory. The result sees Mexico out of the tournament after finishing bottom of the group, while Ecuador’s third-place finish and goal difference of -2 means that they will need some luck to progress to the knockout stages.
The following match saw Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile face surprise package Bolivia at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, in a game the hosts were expected to win comfortably after playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Mexico in their previous match. Chile only needed three minutes to stamp their authority on proceedings, as Charles Aránguiz’ clinical finish from Eduardo Vargas’ cushioned pass gave La Roja an early 1-0 lead. In a first-half completely dominated by Chile, Alexis Sánchez was extremely unlucky not to double the hosts’ lead, when two of his free-kicks crashed against the outside of the post and the crossbar respectively in quick succession. However, the Arsenal star would finally get his first goal of the tournament eight minutes before the break, when he started and finished a blistering counter-attack, finding the net with a sumptuous diving header to send Chile into half-time with a 2-0 lead.
Sampaoli’s decision to take off stars Arturo Vidal and Sánchez at the break took a bit of sting out of the second-half, but Chile were still able to bulldoze their way past La Verde, as Aránguiz found the net again after 66 minutes, stabbing home the ball from close range after former Manchester United striker Ángelo Henríquez squared the ball across the six-yard box. With the result already beyond doubt, Gary Medel netted his first goal for Chile since October 2014, looping the ball over Quiñónez after 79 minutes, before Ronald Raldés unlucky own goal rubbed salt into the Bolivians wound. Despite Chile’s impressive 5-0 win, both sides qualify for the quarter-final stage after finishing first and second respectively.