360 Gist Pilot: 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup: Bravo's Save Hands Book Final Spot For Chile

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

2017 FIFA Confederation Cup: Bravo's Save Hands Book Final Spot For Chile

Chile proved their toughness again in Russia, outlasting and shutting Portugal down to advance on penalties.


After 120 of scoreless minutes, Claudio Bravo made three consecutive saves to put Chile in the Confederations Cup final at Portugal's expense. Here are three quick thoughts on Chile's 0-0 (3-0 on penalties) victory.

Chile will play Mexico or Germany in the Confederations Cup final and they have Claudio Bravo to thank. The Manchester City goalkeeper had a torrid 2016-17 season domestically but saved all three of Portugal's penalties in a stunning shoot-out performance, denying Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Mourinho and Nani after a tense and sometimes controversial 120 minutes.

Early on, a goalless draw seemed the remotest of notions. Both sides should have scored in the opening seven minutes and their star men were the creators. Chile's opening came when Alexis Sanchez sent Eduardo Vargas clear with a perfectly-weighted reverse pass; the striker should probably have shot with his left foot but running around the ball to shoot with his right, he gave Rui Patricio enough time to block sharply. Seconds later Andre Silva missed an even better chance when, located in front of goal by Cristiano Ronaldo's left-sided centre, he allowed Bravo to save at the far post.

It was a breathless start as both sides were happy to leave something behind in the challenge, notably when Gonzalo Jara appeared to rake his studs down Andre Silva's calf. William Carvalho went in similarly late on Arturo Vidal, earning a yellow card. The pace eventually slowed and although Charles Aranguiz missed the target twice for Chile, the first half ended underwhelmingly given its breakneck opening spell.

Vidal headed a Jean Beausejour cross over in the 54th minute from a good position and Vargas then came closer when, after flicking the ball up in the area, he forced a superb one-handed save out of Rui Patricio with an acrobatic volley. The tempo again picked up and Ronaldo, surging infield from the left, immediately drew a parry from Bravo.

Shortly after the hour, Vidal fired just over from 30 yards and at that point, a winner looked likely for someone. Ronaldo almost found it when his deflected effort looped wide, while he might have done better when heading off-target with five minutes of normal time to play.

By that stage, the game had petered out enough to make extra-time inevitable. Sanchez headed a Mauricio Isla delivery agonisingly wide as the additional 30 minutes began brightly; the major controversy would come in the 113th minute, though, when Chile substitute Francisco Silva appeared to be clipped in the box by Jose Fonte. Referee Alireza Faghani awarded a goal kick but replays showed a spot-kick should have been given. It was exactly the kind of scenario for which VAR was made but Faghani stood by his decision.

There was still time for Chile to come closer in a remarkable sequence that saw Vidal thump a post from 20 yards before another substitute, Martin Rodriguez, looped the ensuing rebound against the crossbar. Their luck seemed to be out but then Bravo produced his heroics and the celebrations could begin.


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