Football: Vargas at the double as Chile sink Peru to reach Copa America final

Chilean striker Eduardo Vargas (centre) celebrating with his teammates after scoring against Peru.
Chilean striker Eduardo Vargas (centre) celebrating with his teammates after scoring against Peru. PHOTO: AFP

SANTIAGO (AFP) - Eduardo Vargas scored twice as Chile downed fierce rivals Peru 2-1 here Monday to reach the Copa America final and edge closer to their dream of a first ever victory in the South American football showpiece.

Vargas, who endured a miserable season on loan at relegated English Premier League side Queens Park Rangers, lashed in a stunning 64th-minute strike as the hosts reached their first Copa America final since 1987.

Vargas had given Chile a controversial lead after 42 minutes, prodding home from close range after the referee's assistant failed to spot a fractional offside.

Peru, who played most of the match with 10 men after Carlos Zambrano was sent off for a reckless challenge on Charles Aranguiz after 20 minutes, came back bravely to force an equaliser through a Gary Medel own goal in the 60th minute.

But Vargas, who also had a legitimate goal wrongly ruled out for offside early in the second half, restored Chile's lead with a contender for goal of the tournament.

The 25-year-old picked up a loose ball in midfield, surged forward and unleashed a ferocious dipping 30-yard effort that flew into the top corner past Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Chile will now play the winner of Tuesday's semi-final between Argentina and Paraguay as they chase a first ever Copa America crown.