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Confederations Cup: Claudio Bravo is a hero as Chile beat Portugal in penalty thriller

Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo blocks the ball by Portugal's forward Ricardo Quaresma during a penalty shootout during the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final football match between Portugal and Chile. Pic/AFP Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo blocks the ball by Portugal's forward Ricardo Quaresma during a penalty shootout during the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final football match between Portugal and Chile. Pic/AFP

Chile crush Portugal on penalties to reach Confed Cup final Kazan (Russia), Jun 29 (AP) Claudio Bravo made three penalty saves as Chile crushed Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shootout to reach the Confederations Cup final here. Bravo, who missed the first two games because of injury, stopped penalties by Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, sending Chile to its third straight international final after winning consecutive Copa America titles.

Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez all scored for Chile in the shootout. The teams had drawn 0-0 after normal and extra time.

The result was justice for Chile, which had a strong penalty appeal turned down in extra time and then saw the ball hit the woodwork twice in the same move a few minutes later. Chile and Portugal both came close in the first 10 minutes but there were few chances after that in a lackluster game between two of the main title favorites. Ronaldo was off-form for Portugal and Chile gradually took control.

Chile will play Germany or Mexico in Sunday's final in St. Petersburg. They will be seeking their first title outside of South America after winning the Copa America in 2015 and 2016. Portugal was looking for their second consecutive title after winning the European Championship last year.

In the shoot-out, Bravo dived to his right to stop weak penalty kicks by both Quaresma and Joao Moutinho, then switched sides to save Nani's timorous shot. Nani tip-toed desperately slowly to the ball looking for all the world as though he did not want to take the kick. And he patted it gently to Bravo.

The Manchester City goalkeeper had made his debut at the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event in the match against Australia in Chile's final group-stage game.

Chile had their chances to win it in extra time when Vidal's powerful right-footed shot struck the far post. Off the rebound, substitute Martin Rodriguez hit the crossbar with Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio already beaten.

Sanchez had already had a chance to break the deadlock six minutes into extra time, but his header from near the penalty spot missed just wide after a well-placed right-flank cross by Mauricio Isla.

Chile wanted a late penalty when Francisco Silva was stepped on by a defender inside the area with only a few minutes left, but the referee let the play continue and it was not reviewed by video.

Ronaldo had some chances in regulation time but couldn't capitalize on them, including an 85th-minute header that went wide.

It was the first time in a major international tournament that extra time was played and teams were allowed to make a fourth substitution. Portugal coach Fernando Santos made the fourth change in the final minutes, replacing Andre Gomes by Gelson Martins. Chile only made three substitutions.

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