By Izuchukwu Okosi
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez scored a late goal in the early hours of Friday (Nigerian time) to help Chile boost their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 2-1 win over Ecuador in Santiago, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Sanchez profited from a rebound in the 85th-minute to net the winner for Juan Antonio Pizzi’s team at the Estadio Monumental David Arellano.
Eduardo Vargas scored the opener for Chile but debutant for Ecuador Romario Ibarra grabbed an equaliser with six minutes left to play.
The win saw Pizzi’s side move into third in the standings having now claimed 26 points with just one game remaining.
However, Chile’s last qualifier is a trip to leaders Brazil on Tuesday and they will be without Arturo Vidal after the midfielder was handed a yellow card.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina’s World Cup qualification hopes were dealt a blow after they were held to a goalless draw by impressive Peru.
The setback despite the efforts of Lionel Messi at the Estadio Alberto Jose Armando means Jorge Sampaoli’s side side dropped out of the qualification spots for next year’s showpiece tournament on Thursday as they are currrently sixth in the table with 25 points from 17 matches.
Uruguay edged a step closer to booking their World Cup slot despite playing out a dull 0-0 draw against Venezuela also late Thursday night with Edison Cavani missing a clear chance after a brilliant control of the ball.
Brazil who have already confirmed their place in Russia were held to a scoreless draw by Bolivia whose
goalkeeper Carlos Lampe was impressive.
At the Estadio Metropolitanio Paraguay defeated home side Colombia 2-1 but still find themselves out of reckoning for a place in Russia 2018 as they are in seventh place with 24 points.
The Colombians scored through AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao but Amaldo Sanabria and Oscar Cardozo got the goals for Paraguay.
Colombia are fourth in the table with 24 points.