Chile dominated the game but they only capitalized their chances in the second half. Goals from Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas gave the team a win in the tournament opener.
The first half saw a Chilean side dominating the game early on as they started the match putting some heavy pressure on the final third – in fact, Alexis Sanchez had two clear chances before the fifth minute mark but he couldn’t capitalize them. Ecuador began to settle on the defensive end and while they didn’t do much on offense, they looked more and more solid at the back as the game advanced.
Ecuador had their first approach near the 20th minute when Fidel Martinez curled a ball into the net but Claudio Bravo was solid to stop the Pumas forward’s effort. It turned out to be the only chance the visitors would create in the first half.
Chile ended the first half dominating the game throughout the first half but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Mauricio Isla had a good chance after a combination with Arturo Vidal but his shot from inside the box went slightly wide. The first 45 minutes ended scoreless even though Chile was the better team by a wide margin.
Chile made a HT substitution when Eduardo Vargas replaced Jean Beausejour looking to have a more attacking stance. However, the former QPR striker looked out of form once again and he didn’t offer much on the left wing as his touches were wildly inaccurate. Alexis Sanchez looked active and Eugenio Mena was a constant threat on the left flank but the team continued to display an alarming lack of accuracy in the final third.
Chile finally broke the deadlock in the 67th minute when Arturo Vidal converted a penalty after the Juventus star was fouled inside the box. The goal caused the game to open up as Ecuador moved their lines into a more attacking stance but they weren’t able to do major damage since Chile’s defensive line was very steady.
Jorge Sampaoli introduced Matias Fernandez into the game looking to gain more physicality and more possession in the midfield zone and the Fiorentina playmaker duly delivered although Ecuador woke up in the final 15 minutes. They put pressure on offense and they created some decent scoring opportunities, including a header met by Enner Valencia from close range that hit the post in the 82nd minute.
Chile looked like they were suffering more than expected as they struggled to contain the ball but a counter attack solved everything. Alexis Sanchez conducted the ball until the final third and placed a through ball for Eduardo Vargas who found the back of the net to give Chile a second goal and secured the win in a match that turned out to be much more difficult than initially expected.
With the win, Chile took sole possession of the first place in the Group A while Ecuador is at the bottom of the standings. Both teams will play again on Monday as Chile will play against Mexico while Ecuador will clash - Bolivia.