Chile tipped to beat Peru but Jara's likely ban poses headache

SANTIAGO - The latest instalment of one of South American football's fiercest rivalries plays out at the Copa America today when hosts Chile face Peru with a place in the final at stake.

Matches between the two neighbours are known as the "Clasico del Pacifico" and are contested against a backdrop of historical enmity that dates back more than a century to the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific.

Given their form over recent years, Chile will start as favorites for today's semi-final as they aim to take another step towards ending their 99-year wait for Copa America glory.

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However, the hosts are nervously awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary case opened against key defender Gonzalo Jara on Saturday over his lurid off-the-ball assault on Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani during the quarter-finals.

Conmebol is expected to make a decision before the semi-final, with sources indicating that Jara could face a tournament-ending, five-match ban.

Any suspension of Jara, who has formed an effective partnership with Inter Milan's Gary Medel, will give Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli a major headache.

Peru are brimming with confidence after recovering from a 2-1 defeat in their opening game against Brazil to reach the last four.

They swept aside Bolivia in the quarter-finals 3-1, with Brazil-based striker Paolo Guerrero scoring a hat-trick.

Peru also have the speedy and skilful winger Christian Cueva, who scored against Brazil in the opening match and played a starring role against Bolivia.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Chile tipped to beat Peru but Jara's likely ban poses headache'. Print Edition | Subscribe