Chile stormed into the Copa America final here Wednesday, beating Colombia 2-0 in a weather-disrupted semi-final that took more than four hours to complete.
The defending champions advanced to a repeat of last year’s final against Argentina on Sunday after a whirlwind start left Colombia chasing the game.
Chile, who had destroyed Mexico 7-0 in the quarter-finals on Saturday, picked up where they left off, scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes to take a grip on the contest.
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Charles Aranguiz opened the scoring in the seventh minute before Jose Pedro Fuenzalida made it 2-0 after 11 minutes.
“It’s a good feeling to be back in the final again after overcoming difficult opponents,” Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said.
“We got off to a good start, played aggressively and had a lot of anticipation. That helped us score the goals.”
Chile’s explosive start to the contest was overshadowed by the intervention of Mother Nature at half-time, as a powerful electrical thunderstorm rolled into downtown Chicago and halted play.
Tens of thousands of spectators were ordered to take shelter inside the stadium, leaving the ground empty as torrential rain pounded the stands.
For a while it looked as if play would be abandoned, with the teams forced to return to the venue on Thursday to complete the remaining 45 minutes.
However a break in the weather allowed teams of ground staff to set about clearing excess water from the field, and after a delay of two hours and 25 minutes, the second half resumed at 10:25pm local time (0325 GMT).
“It was hard to stay focused, for those hours,” Pizzi said. “Just sitting in the dressing room waiting for something.”
When play got under way both sides produced one of the most entertaining halfs of the tournament, Colombia attacking relentlessly in an effort to get back into the match and Chile chasing a third goal to kill the game off.
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