Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez turned in a typically brilliant performance for national side Chile yesterday, as the South American champions sunk Brazil 2-0 in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign (via the Daily Mail). Playing at home, Chile were looking to secure their first victory against South American giants Brazil in 15 years, and they managed to do so courtesy of two second half goals by Eduardo Vargas and Sanchez himself.
Alexis was a major injury worry heading into the game, after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that the forward had picked up a groin injury during the 3-0 win over Manchester United (via the Express). Nevertheless, the player travelled to meet up with the national side and was kept under constant observation by the Chilean medical team. He passed their final fitness checks ahead of the game, and eventually played a crucial role in the result alongside fellow injury concern Arturo Vidal.
The game between the two South American powerhouses was played at a fast pace, yet it took well over an hour for the opening goal to arrive. There were several close calls before then however, with Sanchez a whisker away from scoring when he hit the post in the first half with a long range effort that looked to have beaten the keeper. The opening goal was from a set piece, as Eduardo Vargas swept home smartly. And Sanchez sealed the game with a second that came in the 88th minute. The player made a strong run down the centre of the field before feeding Vidal on the flank. The Bayern Munich midfielder cut the ball back and found Sanchez, who made no mistakes from close range.
Watch the goal here:
Sanchez played for the full 90 minutes and was his usual energetic, dangerous self. He showed no ill effects whatsoever, which is a great sign for Arsenal. Chile now play one more game – against Peru – before the end of the international break. Hopefully all goes well in that game and Sanchez returns to London fully fit and healthy.