Sanchez at the dou­ble as Chile sink Uruguay

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ALEXIS SANCHEZ’S in­jury gam­ble paid off in San­ti­ago yes­ter­day as the Arse­nal striker scored twice to help Chile de­feat bit­ter ri­vals Uruguay 3-1 in their World Cup qual­i­fier.

Sanchez (pix) had risked the wrath of Arse­nal boss Arsene Wenger af­ter play­ing in the San­ti­ago show­down de­spite in­jur­ing a ham­string dur­ing train­ing last week.

Wenger had ex­pressed fear Chile had made a “sui­ci­dal” de­ci­sion by play­ing Sanchez against the Uruguayans af­ter the in­jury.

But the in-form striker showed no sign of ill-health with two sec­ond-half goals to seal Chile’s come­back vic­tory af­ter Edin­son Ca­vani had given Uruguay an early lead at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional.

Uruguay dom­i­nated for long pe­ri­ods of the first half, with the move­ment of Luis Suarez and Ca­vani trou­bling Chile’s de- fence.

The con­test was a re­match of the two sides stormy col­li­sion at the same venue dur­ing the 2015 Copa Amer­ica, when Uruguay fin­ished the game with nine men af­ter the in­fa­mous clash be­tween Ca­vani and Gon­zalo Jara.

Jara, who was later handed a two-match ban for ap­pear­ing to shove a fin­ger into Ca­vani’s back­side, was back at the heart of the Chilean de­fence yes­ter­day along­side Gary Medel.

How­ever Jara and Medel were both found want­ing in the 16th minute when Uruguay took the lead through Ca­vani.

Af­ter hes­i­ta­tion be­tween Jara and Medel, Suarez pounced on a loose ball and surged for­ward men­ac­ingly be­fore rolling a pass into the path of Ca­vani.

The Paris Saint-Ger­main striker took the faintest of touches be­fore ri­fling home an un­stop­pable shot past Clau­dio Bravo.

It was Ca­vani’s eighth goal of the qualifying cam­paign, leav­ing him two clear of Ar­turo Vi­dal and Ecuador’s Felipe Caicedo who have six each.

Uruguay looked to be head­ing into half-time 1-0 up but in stop­page time, Chile mounted their best at­tack of the half.

Sanchez re­leased Jean Beause­jour down the left flank and the for­mer Wi­gan winger’s cross found Ed­uardo Var­gas who headed past Fer­nando Muslera for 1-1.

Chile came out for the sec­ond half clearly buoyed by the goal and on 60 min­utes Sanchez struck.

The Arse­nal for­ward spun away from Ma­tias Ve­cino with ease on the edge of the area be­fore get­ting his shot away.

Sanchez’s ef­fort was struck firmly but poor goal­keep­ing from Muslera al­lowed the shot to squirt into the net at the near post.

In the 76th minute, Sanchez then darted onto a long ball from Marcelo Diaz to make it 3-1.

In the clos­ing stages Bravo de­nied Uruguay a life­line when he saved a Suarez penalty. – AFP

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