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Argentina survives Chilean red mist

A 3-0 victory sees it to the final where it will meet the Czech Republic

Toronto: Argentina moved within one victory of a sixth Under-20 World Cup title on Thursday, defeating a stubborn Chilean side 3-0 in an ill-tempered semifinal that ended with recriminations and Chile having just nine men on the field.

The defending champion plays the Czech Republic in Sunday’s final while Chile meets Austria in the earlier third-place game.

Chile, reduced to 10 men for the last 75 minutes and nine with 13 minutes remaining, played a spirited game. But as the night wore on, more space opened up for Argentina before a capacity crowd at the National Soccer Stadium.

Cards galore

It was a game of good players and bad blood. German referee Wolfgang Stark showed nine yellow cards — seven to Chile — and two reds.

After the match, several Chilean players raced at the officials, who needed help from others to keep the enraged Chileans away. The crowd jeered the officials as they walked off with two police officers and the officiating crew eventually raced into the tunnel as a water bottle was thrown at them.

Up 1-0 after just 12 minutes after a fierce drive from Angel Di Maria, Argentina finally stretched the lead to 2-0 in the 65th minute. Maximiliano Moralez, who played provider all night long, somehow threaded a pass from the byline through a packed penalty box to Claudio Yacob, who directed it home. Moralez made it 3-0 himself in injury time.

During the match, organisers announced the event had set a tournament record for attendance with 1,156,187 at the 50 matches through Thursday. That beat the previous mark of 1,155,160 in Mexico in 1983.

“This achievement is truly something special,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

“The way Canada has embraced this event is both a testament to the strength and long-term potential of the sport of soccer in this country, as well as a reflection of the sporting passion in the heart of all Canadians.” Argentina has four titles and one fourth-place finish in the last six editions of the tournament.

Overall, the Argentines have won five of the 15 U-20 tournaments — in 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2005.

It has reached the semifinals eight times in 12 attempts, and six times in its last seven appearances. Chilean goalkeeper Cristopher Toselli set a tournament record five minutes into the match when his run without conceding a goal reached 485 minutes.

That erased the previous mark of 484 minutes set by Brazil’s Taffarel in 1985 in Russia. Toselli started that run on July 1 in a 3-0 win over Canada.

The results: Semifinal: Argentina 3 (Di Maria, Yacob, Moralez) bt Chile 0. — AP

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