Forced to chase the game, Venezuela could really have done without a blunder from their young keeper Wuilker Farinez, who otherwise had such a fine tournament. It was inside the last 20 minutes, and Farinez may have been distracted by the need to distribute quickly. But he failed to hold Aguero’s shot, and substitute Giovani Lo Celso followed up to seal the game, and the place in the last four.
From this point the outcome was never in doubt. In between the two goals, though, Venezuela were right in the game, playing their way into the contest and giving Argentina cause for concern.
Chile could have won the game in normal time but had two goals ruled out for marginal decisions in a scoreless draw, before Alexis Sanchez stroked home the winning spot-kick.
It was just rewards for the champions after dominating a match in which Colombia held on thanks to a couple of tight VAR calls.
Charles Aranguiz had a goal ruled out in the first half for a marginal offside against Sanchez in the build up to the move.
And After Arturo Vidal shot low into the far corner on 70 minutes, that was chalked off for a handball against Guillermo Maripan, who had teed up the Barcelona midfielder.
After eight successful penalties, William Tesillo casually put his effort wide for Colombia, leaving Sanchez to be the hero, as the Manchester United forward continues to make up for a dreadful club season.
The first half was dominated by Chile’s 16th minute goal being controversially disallowed.
Jean Beausejour made a surging, overlapping run down the left and his inviting cross was spilled by Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina after Davinson Sanchez got in his way, allowing Aranguiz to nip in and slot home from a tight angle.
But much to the bemusement of many watching, the referee consulted VAR and the goal was chalked off for the most marginal of offsides.
Until then, Colombia had been the better side. On five minutes, a Radamel Falcao cushioned header found Roger Martinez but the forward wanted an extra touch and his goal-bound volley was charged down.
James Rodriguez then had a free-kick in a dangerous position but failed to clear the defensive wall.
Ospina made an incredible one-handed save on 12 minutes to keep out an Eduardo Vargas header from a Jose Fuenzalida cross, but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the ball was deemed to have been out of play.
Soon after the disallowed goal tempers flared as Sanchez squared up to Wilmar Barrios, only to then find himself face-to-face with Colombia’s giant center-back Yerry Mina.
Chile were by now in control of proceedings and Maripan headed over from a Beausejour cross.
The champions were buzzing and Mauricio Isla threaded a through ball to Vargas, whose shot was blocked by a sliding Mina.
Chile were looking increasingly threatening as Sanchez fired wide, Fuenzalida had a shot blocked and Vidal went closest yet with a curler from 18 yards.
VAR saves Colombia again