Soccer-Almiron stars as Paraguay defeat Chile 2-0 in Copa America

Soccer Football - Copa America 2021 - Group A - Chile v Paraguay - Estadio Mane Garrincha, Brasilia, Brazil - June 24, 2021 Chile's Arturo Vidal in action with Paraguay's Oscar Romero REUTERS/Henry Romero

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Miguel Almiron got a goal and an assist as Paraguay beat Chile 2-0 in the Copa America on Thursday and confirmed their place in the last eight.

The result ensures that with one round of group games still to play, Paraguay qualify from Group A along with Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

Bolivia, who lost 2-0 to Uruguay earlier on Thursday, are eliminated.

The defeat at an empty stadium in Brasilia was coach Martin Lasarte’s first since taking over at Chile seven matches ago, and it was a sobering one given how easily they were brushed aside by their opponents.

Paraguay took the lead after 33 minutes when Braian Samudio, starting his first game in this Copa, got on the end of an Almiron corner kick to power a header past Claudio Bravo.

Chile started the second half more brightly but they soon found themselves two goals down.

With 58 minutes gone Gary Medel was adjudged to have wrestled Carlos Gonzalez to the ground inside the penalty box and Almiron stepped up to score from the spot.

Both sides had penalty claims turned down before the final whistle but Chile, Copa champions in 2015 and 2016, could have no complaints about the result having had only one shot on target the entire game.

Their cause was not helped by a string of top players including Bravo, Medel and Arturo Vidal, all having an off day.

The one sour note for Paraguay was seeing substitute Antonio Bareiro taken off the field on a stretcher in stoppage time with what looked like a knee injury.

Uruguay play Paraguay and Bolivia face Argentina in the final round of Group A games on Monday.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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