PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (Reuters) - Peru will produce a far better performance in the Copa America final against Brazil than their 5-0 defeat by the hosts earlier in the tournament, midfielder Yoshimar Yotun said after his side stunned holders Chile 3-0 in the semi-finals.
Ricardo Gareca’s side had sneaked into the quarter-finals as one of the best third-placed teams from the group stage but they have come into their own in the knockout stages.
After eliminating highly-fancied Uruguay in a quarter-final penalty shootout Peru floored Chile with first-half goals from Edison Flores and Yotun before Paolo Guerrero’s late strike completed the comprehensive win.
The victory over the double defending champions also avenged Peru’s defeat to Chile in the 2015 semi-finals and booked their place in their first Copa America final since last winning the tournament in 1975.
“The defeat to Brazil was very tough but this game will be different,” Yotun told reporters as he looked ahead to Sunday’s showpiece at the Maracana.
“It’s a final, you have to win a final and we are going to try and work hard and lift this Copa.”
Yotun, who scored his side’s second goal of the game, said Peru’s humble attitude was key to them progressing to the final.
“We always kept a low profile, we tried to work hard in games which we were never favourites, and that makes us stronger,” he added.
“We got some very difficult results and now we are in the final we’re very happy.”
Peru had lost 12 of their previous 14 fixtures against Chile but have made real progress under Gareca, who helped the team return to the World Cup finals in 2018 after a 36-year absence.
Captain Guerrero said the performance against the 2015 and 2016 Copa America champions showed what his side were capable of.
“When this team tries to create things, when it focuses and when it really wants something, it gets the job done,” he added.
“This fixture is always tough and closely fought but we were better than them from start to finish.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Peter Rutherford