Chile v Peru: Potential Jara sanction hangs over semi-final

Two of South American football's biggest rivals face off for a spot in the Copa America final when Chile take on Peru.

Chile face fierce rivals Peru in Santiago on Monday for a place in the Copa America final, with the status of Gonzalo Jara in doubt ahead of the last-four clash.

The tournament hosts beat holders Uruguay 1-0 in a quarter-final marred by a controversial incident surrounding defender Jara and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani.

Jara appeared to prod the Paris Saint-Germain forward in the backside with a finger in the 63rd minute, with Cavani sent off for his reaction as he raised his hand to the face of the Mainz man.

Mauricio Isla's 81st-minute strike proved decisive for Chile before Jorge Fucile was also sent off for Uruguay. 

Initial reports suggested CONMEBOL were looking into the incident, although it has subsequently been claimed the case will only be heard if the Uruguayan Football Association makes a complaint. 

Chile's reserve goalkeeper Paulo Garces said: "It will be a shame for all of us and the entire coaching staff if Gonzalo is suspended because he is a fundamental player for us.

"Hopefully he doesn't get suspended, but if the punishment comes, we have 23 players and 23 are prepared for these circumstances. Hopefully whoever has to play can do so in the same way as Gonzalo has done."

Two-time champions Peru should go into the clash with a great deal of confidence having dispatched Bolivia 3-1 in the quarter-finals thanks to a hat-trick from Paolo Guerrero.

And Ricardo Gareca's team, whose progress has been the surprise of the tournament, will not be lacking motivation for one of the most important games of a long-standing rivalry.

The two nations share a border and games between the pair are known as the 'Clasico del Pacifico'.

Chile prevented Peru from qualifying for the 1974 World Cup before Peru returned the favour in the qualifiers for the 1978 competition.

Last year's friendly, won 3-0 by Chile, saw Peru finish with 10 men as Rinaldo Cruzado was sent off after 39 minutes.

Chile defender Jose Pedro Fuenzalida is hopeful the semi-final will be played in better spirits.

"The match between Chile and Peru holds a very important rivalry throughout history and last year we played a friendly which was quite hard, with plenty of aggression on their side," Fuenzalida said. 

"That's created the expectation that these games have to go beyond the rules of football. We hope that Monday's game is only remembered for what happens on the pitch."