Gareca unconcerned by Chile's slow start after Peru draw

By Sports Desk June 22, 2024

Ricardo Gareca is not concerned about Chile's chances of making it out of Group A at the Copa America despite their opening draw with Peru.

Friday's clash in Arlington finished 0-0 as the teams mustered just five shots on target and an accumulative expected goals tally of just 1.76 between them, but there were 37 fouls – Chile committing 19 and Peru 18.

Gareca pointed to the aggressive nature of the game as a reason for Chile's lack of rhythm against the nation he coached in the last four editions of the Copa America, though he did not look to make excuses.

"We were not able to create many plays and execute them. We were under a lot of pressure and sometimes we were not accurate in our passes," said Gareca, who is the fourth coach to participate in five consecutive editions of the Copa America, after Guillermo Stabile, Luis Tirado and Oscar Tabarez.

"I'm not concerned. I think this will be useful for us to analyse our game to improve our game.

"We of course hoped to win the match. But I think it's very important that we're able to take a point and we still have two matches ahead of us."

This was the first 0-0 draw in a match between Chile and Peru since 1989, when they faced each other in a friendly, with the teams having met 34 times between the scoreless draws. In fact, it was the first draw between these teams since 2004 (1-1 in a friendly), with 14 Chilean victories and six Peruvian victories since then.

Chile fielded the oldest starting line-up in the Copa America this century (31 years and 168 days), while Peru's starting eleven was the third oldest in the same period (30 years and 363 days).

"It was a very strategic and tactical game," said Peru coach Jorge Fossati.

"We knew that if we gave some leeway to the opponent, if we let them run and made them feel comfortable, it was giving them a tool or a weapon that could really hurt us.

"We were aggressive but I don't think one team was more aggressive than the other. It was an even and fair game."

Group A also includes tournament favourites Argentina, who kick-started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada.

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