Chile breeze past Brazil

Alexis Sanchez (File)
Alexis Sanchez (File)

Santiago - Chile scored their first victory over Brazil in 15 years on Thursday after goals from Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez sent the five-time world champions spinning to a 2-0 defeat as South America's 2018 World Cup qualifiers got under way.

Vargas, one of the heroes of Chile's victorious Copa America campaign, picked up where he left off in that tournament with a wonderful volleyed finish on 72 minutes to fire the hosts into the lead at Santiago's Estadio Nacional.

Arsenal star Sanchez then applied the coup de grace in the 90th minute, jabbing home from close range after a wonderful flowing move which ripped Brazil's defence apart.

Brazil had been desperate to move on from a disappointing Copa America campaign which followed their humiliating 7-1 drubbing against Germany in last year's World Cup semi-finals.

But the Brazilians, badly missing suspended captain Neymar, struggled to find a way through a physical Chile side who were fortunate to finish the game with 11 men on the pitch.

A hardfought first half was light on goal scoring chances, with the best efforts coming in a flurry of action shortly before half-time when Chile almost took the lead through Sanchez.

The Arsenal forward crashed a shot against the post on 42 minutes with Brazilian keeper Jefferson beaten. Moments later Gonzalo Jara forced the Brazilian keeper into a save with a low shot.

Brazil then had their best chance of the game, with recalled striker Hulk, deputising for Neymar, testing Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo with a rasping angled shot.

Chile hit the woodwork again early in the second half through Mauricio Isla before the breakthrough came through Vargas.

The 25-year-old Hoffenheim forward lost his marker superbly before steering home Matias Fernandez's free-kick at the near post to send the home crowd into raptures.

With the clock ticking down, Chile doubled their lead, Sanchez finishing at the second attempt from Arturo Vidal's low cross on 90 minutes.

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