TEMUCO, Chile: Brazilian-based striker Paolo Guerrero scored a hat trick as Peru swept aside Bolivia 3-1 to set up a Copa America semifinals showdown with fierce rivals Chile on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Flamengo forward Guerrero, who has spent the past three years in Brazil after spells in Germany with Bayern Munich and Hamburg, pounced in the 20th and 23rd minutes to snuff out Bolivia’s campaign.
The 31-year-old completed his hat trick in the 74th minute, strolling clear of the Bolivian defense to finish nonchalantly. Marcelo Martins scored a late consolation from the penalty spot for Bolivia.
The result sets up the mouthwatering prospect of a semifinals next Monday between tournament hosts Chile and Peru, the latest installment of a ferocious footballing rivalry which began in 1935.
Matches between the two neighbors are known as the “Clasico del Pacifico,” laced with a historical enmity that dates back to the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific.
Chile and Peru also fought a long-running legal battle over the two nations’ disputed maritime border.
Peru will head into Monday’s showdown brimming with confidence after easing past Bolivia.
The match was effectively settled during a devastating three-minute spell midway through the first half. Guerrero grabbed his first of the night in the 20th minute. Three minutes later Guerrero made it 2-0 after a breathless breakout from Peru which had begun with a Bolivia free-kick on the edge of their opponents area.
Victory was sealed when Guerrero completed his hat-trick on 74 minutes. Bolivia grabbed a late consolation through a Martins penalty after Ronald Raldes was brought down by Yordy Reyna but it was too little too late.