CHICAGO -- Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina praised Chile rival and Arsenal teammate Alexis Sanchez after La Roja ended Colombia's Copa America Centenario dreams on Wednesday night with a 2-0 semifinal defeat at Soldier Field.
Despite the disappointment, the 27-year-old Ospina still found a few words of praise for Chile's inspirational winger, who was once again one of La Roja's top performers.
Ospina was one of the few Colombia players to talk to the media after the game, which finished late after a rain delay at half-time of over two hours.
"He's not just a great player, he's an excellent person," said Ospina of Sanchez. "He's showing what he is made of [at the Copa America] with his movement, competitiveness and use of the ball. I'm happy for him."
Ospina was the hero of Colombia's quarterfinal victory over Peru and made some outstanding saves in the 2-1 group stage win over Paraguay, putting him the shop window for potential new clubs, with reports that he will be leaving the Emirates for pastures new this summer.
"[There's nothing new] for the moment, no," said Ospina after the match. "I'm relaxed. I'll finish the Copa and after that we'll see what happens."
- Selección Chilena (@LaRoja) June 23, 2016
Early goals from Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida took the semifinal beyond Colombia in the first 11 minutes to set up a final on Sunday against Argentina.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman was critical of the refereeing, with his side ending the game with 10 players, after Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the 57th minute.
"It is a night of certain injustices," said Pekerman, mentioning an early penalty claim that officials ignored. "The referee lacked discretion in the sending off of Sanchez ... we can't omit that, but we do admit to our bad start, which cost us two early goals."
Sanchez himself was disappointed to receive his second yellow and said he was surprised to see red, considering he felt there were worse fouls in a second half, in which the slippery conditions saw a number of late challenges.
The Chile victory means the 2016 Copa America Centenario final will be a repeat of the 2015 edition, which La Roja took on penalties after an intense and hard-fought battle.
"Chile are a well-oiled machine," Pekerman said. "Chile had a bad start [to the Copa America] and grew, remembering their teamwork ... The final comes at a very good time."
For Chile left-back Jean Beausejour, the spectre of facing an Argentina side led by in-form Lionel Messi is concerning, but the 32-year-old believes La Albiceleste are much more than just one player.
"You always worry [about Messi], but it isn't just Messi," Beausejour said. "Argentina as a whole are worrisome. I don't believe Argentina would be here [in the final] without a unit that works well."
Chile met Argentina in the group stage of the tournament, with Argentina winning the match 2-1. Argentina face Chile on Sunday in the final while Colombia meet the United States on Saturday in the battle for third place.