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Chile 2-0 Ecuador: Vidal’s questionably-won PK helps hosts to deserved win in Copa America opener


Chile’s midfielder Arturo Vidal (L) celebrates next to Chile’s forward Alexis Sanchez after scoring a penalty against Ecuador, during the Copa America inauguration football match, on June 11, 2015 at the Nacional stadium in Santiago. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

The 2015 Copa America’s opening night featured a win for the hosts at Estadio Nacional in Santiago.

Arturo Vidal’s 67th minute penalty may’ve been soft, but the lead it gave Chile was richly deserved and came en route to a 2-0 win over Ecuador in Group A on Thursday.

Alexis Sanchez found Eduardo Vargas for an 84th minute insurance goal, as Chile opened Group A play. Mexico and Bolivia will finish the group’s opening matches on Friday.

[ MORE: Copa America preview & picks ]

Vidal nearly pulled off a 360-degree spin on his fall after beating former Chivas USA man Miler Bolanos with a dribble, and earning contact around his side.

But his penalty was struck with force and accuracy, giving Chile a goal to match its match-long dominance. And to be fair, he wasn’t alone. The Copa America theatrics came from almost all angles, almost all night.

Ecuador did open up a bit after going down, and Enner Valencia put a strong header off the crossbar in the 82nd minute, and the West Ham man then took a hard touch that denied him a shot at equalizing moments later.

Soon after, a poor back pass gifted Sanchez a 2v2 break, and he slipped in a questionably-onside Vargas for the match’s second goal.

Matias Fernandez picked up a useless second yellow card after kicking out at Juan Carlos Paredes deep into stoppage time and will miss Chile’s next match at a minimum

The hosts next face Mexico on Monday, while Ecuador moves onto Bolivia.

Follow @NicholasMendola