SANTIAGO: Hosts Chile are within two games of winning the Copa America for the first time in its century of history after defeating holders Uruguay 1-0 in a controversial quarter-final.

Mauricio Isla scored the only goal in the 82nd minute of a game which ended with the Celeste having only with nine players on the pitch. Star striker Edinson Cavani was sent off after 62 minutes and Jorge Fucile in the 88th, both after second yellow cards.

Uruguay complained that Chile’s Gonzalo Jara had been play-acting in the Cavani expulsion. First Jara gave the PSG forward a friendly slap and then poked him behind the referee’s back. When Cavani responded in a comparatively innocuous manner Jara collapsed dramatically to the ground.

The incident exacerbated Cavani’s troubled week with his father arrested over allegations of causing death by dangerous driving.

Fucile’s expulsion promoted several minutes of mayhem on the pitch after Uruguay’s players mobbed the officials in protest and officials became involved in subsequent scuffles.

Chile play Peru or Bolivia in the semi-finals. Argentina face Colombia on Friday and Brazil play Paraguay on Saturday.