Four-star Chile leave it late
© Foto-net

The two meanest defences in Canada came face-to-face in Montreal on Sunday, with Chile ultimately depriving Nigeria of a semi-final berth thanks to four unanswered strikes in extra-time.

Chile began the strongest and it took a fine save onto the crossbar from Ikechukwu Ezenwa to prevent Dagoberto Currimilla from scoring in the 19th minute. Alexis Sanchez then brought the South Americans close from a free-kick with half an hour gone, a minute before Gary Medel spread panic with a solo run forward.

The Flying Eagles improved towards the end of the half and Chile goalkeeper Cristopher Toselli did well to intercept a dangerous cross from Chukwuma Akabueze on 40 minutes. He could do nothing to stop an Ezekiel Bala header four minutes later, though, and was relieved to see the ball come back off the bar. La Rojita coach Jose Sulantay's response was to take off Alexis Sanchez and Nicolas Medina at the break, replacing them with Jaime Grondona and Carlos Carmona, and his side twice threatened to go ahead from expertly-played through balls after the restart; Mauricio Isla (54') then Grondona (73') both spurning good opportunities.

Nigeria's physical strength began to pay as time ticked down, but they remained too wasteful in the last third to carve out any serious chances. Indeed, six minutes into extra-time it was Chile who broke the deadlock, Hans Martinez taking advantage of confusion in the box to supply Grondona, who had the easy job of nodding the ball into an open goal. The Chileans had looked exhausted, but now they had enough left in the tank to put the game out of reach with two goals from Isla after 114 and 118 minutes, and their triumph was complete when Vidangossy fired in a fourth. They will now face either Mexico or Argentina in the semi-finals on 19 July in Toronto.