CHILE co-coach Victor Villella admits he didn't give his side much hope when it was down to 10 men against Albania in the Knox All Nations Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
With the Albanians ahead 2-1 midway through the second half, the Chileans, in just their second year in the cup, had a man sent off. But instead of falling in a heap, Chile pulled together and found two goals from striker Daryl Roach to pull ahead 3-2.
That goal looked enough until the Albanians found a goal in the final minutes to send the game into extra time at 3-3.
The two sides looked destined for a penalty shoot-out until Roach popped up again with just minutes left in the second half of extra time to score the winner and send the South Americans into the final four with a 4-3 win. Villella said his side went crazy after scoring the goal, which ended the match under the golden goal rule.
"Everyone was running onto the pitch, it was a great atmosphere," he said. "Albania is always up there in his competition and with only 10 men I didn't think we could do it.
"The whole team played well. We had a good, even spread from everyone in the side and our striker, Daryl, scored a hat-trick."
While making the semi-finals is a new achievement for Chile, Villella knows the competition won't get any easier with his side to face Serbia in the semi-finals on Sunday. Reigning champions Scotland will play Ireland in the other semi-final.
Villella said he gave his side every chance of getting through the final if they put in another effort like they did against Albania.
"We know we have the quality in our side, all the players play at a high level.
"This year, the boys have a good bond and the way they have gelled together and shown a will to win has made the difference."
KNOX ALL NATIONS CUP
Scotland v Ireland, 1pm Sunday
Serbia v Chile, 3pm Sunday
Both matches at the Knox Regional Soccer Centre, Wantirna South.