Chile 1-0 Bolivia: Stoke-on-Trent-born Blackburn star Ben Brereton scores his first international goal for the country of his mother’s birth as Martin Lasarte’s men top their Copa America group
It was a story that slightly caught people off-guard as England-born Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton claimed an unlikely place on the plane to the Copa America with Chile.
The 22-year-old, who qualifies for the South American country through his mother, flew to Brazil as a new team-mate of Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, not knowing how often he would feature in the tournament.
After coming on against Argentina as a second-half sub with ‘Brereton Diaz’ emblazoned across the back of his shirt, the Under-19 European Championship winner with England in 2017 earned a start on Saturday against Bolivia and made himself a hero among his newfound fanbase.
Ben Brereton can’t quite believe what he has done after putting Chile ahead against Bolivia
The 22-year-old latched onto Eduardo Vargas’ pass to score the only goal of the game in Brazil
An attack built down the right by Jean Meneses and Vidal, with the ball slotted through into the path of Vargas by his Inter Milan team-mate.
Vargas then flicked the ball round Jairo Quinteros into Brereton’s path and the Nottingham Forest youth product drifted inside the centre back before caressing the ball into Carlos Lampe’s bottom left-hand corner from 15 yards.
Brereton was then mobbed by his compatriots, with his 10th-minute strike proving to be the winner, even though the favourites should have scored more against a Bolivia side that have won only three of their last 32 internationals.
Brereton’s first goal came just four days after his debut against Lionel Messi’s Argentina
Chile (4-3-3): Bravo; Isla, Medel, Maripan, Mena; Vidal (Alarcon 69), Pulgar, C Aranguiz; Meneses (Pinares 65), Vargas, Brereton (P Aranguiz 84).
Subs not used: Arias, Castellon, Roco, Galdames, Mora, Vegas, Arriagada, Nunez, Montes.
Goals: Brereton 10
Manager: Martin Lasarte
Bolivia (4-4-2): Lampe; Diego Bejarano, Quinteros, Jusino, Fernandez; Saavedra (Flores 78), Vaca (Villarroel 90), Justiniano (Danny Bejarano 90), Arce; Chura (Ramallo 64), Alvarez.
Subs not used: Cordano, Rojas, Sagredo, Wayar, Cespedes, Sanchez, Barboza.
Yellow: Bejarano, Vaca
Manager: Cesar Farias
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
Having drawn with Argentina in their opening game, Chile currently top Group A, in part because they are the only team to have played two matches.
Argentina will leapfrog Martin Lasarte’s men if they beat Uruguay – who are yet to play a match this tournament – in their game in Brasilia, which takes place on Saturday 19 June at 1am UK time.
Chile next face Uruguay on Monday 21 June in Cuiaba, the venue for Brereton’s winner. He will be hoping the Arena Pantanal can become his lucky charm.