PHILADELPHIA -- Chile advanced to the quarterfinals of Copa America Centenario with a 4-2 victory over Panama before a 20,432 crowd at Lincoln Financial Field Tuesday night.
The defending champion Chileans (2-1-0, 6 points) pulled into second place behind Argentina in Group D, and were set to meet Mexico in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, pending the outcome of the Argentina-Bolivia match.
La Roja found its stride against the Canaleros after struggling in the opening games, losing to Argentina (2-1) and needing a goal in the 10th minute of added time for a 2-1 win over Bolivia.
Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas scored twice for La Roja, which spent much of the game sending nearly everyone forward, Gonzalo Jara and Gary Medel holding the defense as a two-man back line. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi added Edson Puch as a 59th-minute replacement for Jean Beausejour as Chile went to a three-striker formation.
But Panama (1-2-0, 3 points) displayed resiliency, taking the lead on Miguel Camargoís fifth-minute goal, and staying in contention until the final minutes.
Camargo capitalized on a turnover, sending a shot that dipped toward the near post, Claudio Bravo diving left, the ball going in on a short hop off his hands.
In the 15th minute, Jaime Penedo dove left to stop Arturo Vidalís straight-on shot, Vargas finishing into the right side of the net to tie the score.
Chile kept the pressure on, Charles Aranguiz and Vidal playing a give-and-go, Aranguizís shot saved in the 18th minute. In the 22nd minute, Penedo dove right to tip away Vidalís header and, seconds later, another Vidal header went just high off a Beausejoir cross.
Chile took command, pushing forward Beausejoir and Mauricio Isla on the outside, the strategy paying off as Vargas headed a Beausejoir cross just inside the far post for a 2-1 edge in the 43rd minute.
La Roja upped the lead to 3-1 with a lightning strike in the 49th minute. Medel played the ball to Isla, who found Vargas in stride on the right. Vargas pulled up just inside the penalty area, avoided two defenders, then lofted a pass to the left, Sanchez winding up for a volley into the left side of the net.
Panama retaliated, Gabriel Torres firing high in the 55th minute. Chile dominated possession for most of the second half, but struggled to break through. Panama cut the deficit on a free kick, Abdiel Arroyo heading in off Bravo at the far post in the 75th minute.
The Chileans went with a three-forward setup late, Puch driving a close-range shot, knocked away by Penedo in the 88th minute. A minute later, Sanchez headed inside the near post off a Jose Fuenzalida cross from the left.