Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez shook off curses and injury concerns alike to lead his national side to a hard-fought 4-3 win against Peru yesterday evening (via the Standard). The player, who was still being closely monitored for any sign of groin problems, was in sublime form; scoring twice and setting up another goal to ensure that Chile have taken all six points from their opening two games of the World Cup qualification stages.
There were bizarre scenes before the game even kicked off, as a handful of Peru fans conducted a ritual involving a tortoise and a replica Sanchez jersey. They then proceeded to shower petals all over a jersey of Peruvian star Jefferson Farfan, apparently ‘cursing’ Sanchez and transferring powers into Farfan.
The game started predictably enough, with Chile having the stronger positions. Their dominance led to an early goal, scored by none other than Alexis himself. However, the ‘blessed’ Farfan responded with a brace to put Peru ahead and send their magic loving fans into raptures. Their party was short-lived though; a red card for Christian Cueva saw the Peruvians reduced to ten men and some clinical finishing from Eduardo Vargas and Sanchez resulted in the score being 3-2 at the break.
Soon after play resumed, Alexis fed the ball through for Vargas to make it 4-2 and effectively end the game as a contest. A stoppage time goal from Paolo Guerrero caused some jittery nerves, but the Chileans held on to secure victory and take away all three points.
If Sanchez managed to produce two goals and an assist while being ‘cursed’, it will be interesting to see what he can do when he is allowed to play to his full capacity. He is world-class, no doubt about it, and his form could not have come at a better time for the club. Hopefully he manages to produce a performance of this caliber against Bayern next week, and we may still have a fighting chance in the Champions League after all.