[:en]Chile begins Championship with victory over Ecuador[:]

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Chile has begun their quest for a maiden Copa America title with victory over Ecuador in Santiago.

Midfielder Arturo Vidal was brought down in the box by Miller Bolanos in the second half and picked himself up to convert the penalty for Chile.

Former QPR man Eduardo Vargas netted the second, calmly slotting home, as Matias Fernandez was sent off late on.


Ecuador’s best chance fell to West Ham striker Enner Valencia, who struck the crossbar with a close-range header.

Chile has never won the competition in its 99-year history, coming runners-up on four occasions, the last being in 1987.

And having reached the last-16 of the 2014 World Cup, the Chileans are third favourites behind Argentina and Brazil to lift the trophy this year.

The top two sides from the three groups will progress to the quarter-finals, as well as the two best third-placed teams, with these sides lining up alongside Mexico and Bolivia in Group A.

Chile showed more intent in the encounter with some sharp, crisp passing, while Juventus’s Vidal and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez combined well in the final third.

The match ended on a sour note for Chile after substitute Fernandez was dismissed for hacking down Juan Carlos Paredes in injury time.

 

BBC/Nnenna.O

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