MOSCOW (Reuters) - Chile reached the Confederations Cup semi-finals on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Australia, who muscled the South Americans out of their stride but exited the tournament after wasting their chances.
Chile capitalised on a defensive mistake to equalise through substitute Martin Rodriguez in the 67th minute of the Group B game after Australia took the lead with a James Troisi goal in the 42nd.
Australia, needing a two-goal win to qualify, squandered an opportunity to go two ahead before halftime when Trent Sainsbury volleyed wildly over with the goal at his mercy.
The Australians, with forward Tim Cahill making his 100th appearance, missed further chances in the second half.
Chile, who face European champions Portugal in the last four on Wednesday in Kazan, came second in the group with five points, two behind Germany and three ahead of Australia in third.
“We had trouble imposing our style of play,” said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi. “Our opponents played very well with a lot of aggression - perhaps too much in some cases. They were very strong in the challenge and won a lot of 50-50 balls.”
Chile began in their usual fast and furious style and Arturo Vidal forced an early save from Maty Ryan with a superb volley.
Alexis Sanchez then managed to get clear but the ball was taken off his foot by Ryan Milligan’s last-ditch tackle. Sanchez went tumbling and Chile appealed for a penalty but the Video Assistant Referee ruled that it was a fair tackle.
After that Australia managed to outmuscle Chile, although they had four players booked before halftime and the 37-year-old Cahill was lucky not to be sent off for scything down Charles Aranguiz from behind.
Troisi dinked the ball over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to give Australia the lead after Chile lost possession in midfield.
Still stunned by that, Chile’s defence was then caught cold and the ball fell to an unmarked Salisbury but the central defender blasted his shot over when it looked easier to score.
Australia’s Robbie Kruse had another chance after halftime when he got clear of his marker but failed to make contact with the ball.
They paid for those misses when Rodriguez turned the ball in from Eduardo Vargas’ header after the Australia defender failed to clear an attack.
Ryan McGowan and Kruse had further chances for Australia which they again failed to take in a pulsating end-to-end match.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris