An Arturo Vidal brace gave Chile a much-needed 2-1 win over Peru in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men looked set to see their poor qualifying campaign continue when Edison Flores cancelled out Vidal’s opener in Santiago.
But Vidal proved to be the hero with an excellent finish in the 85th minute as he eased the pressure on Pizzi and moved Chile to within two points of fifth-placed Argentina.
The Bayern Munich midfielder had headed his side into an early lead and squandered other chances before Flores’ fine equaliser.
He would net a dramatic winner, however, to see Chile to their fifth win in 10 qualifiers, while Peru’s struggles continued despite earning a 2-2 draw against Argentina last time out.
The under-fire Pizzi made two changes to the XI beaten 3-0 in Ecuador, Jean Beausejour replacing Eugenio Mena and Nicolas Castillo taking the place of Pablo Hernandez.
Peru also made two changes, Yoshimar Yotun replaced by Carlos Lobaton in midfield and Irven Avila coming in for Cristian Benavente.
The hosts made a strong start and Eduardo Vargas went close with a seventh-minute header, and his side would lead moments later.
Mauricio Isla did brilliantly down the right after receiving a pass from Vargas, before picking out Vidal to head in unmarked at the back post and put Chile 1-0 up.
Vargas fired well wide from a tight angle after an Alexis Sanchez cross, and Vidal should have doubled his – and his team’s – tally on the half-hour mark.
Sanchez’s delightful pass released Beausejour down the left and his cross found Vidal, who, with an entire goal to aim at, directed his shot straight at scrambling goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Peru barely threatened – Renato Tapia headed a corner wide in the 36th minute – and they were lucky to only be one goal down at the break.
Chile continued to push for a second after the break, but the visitors almost levelled just after the hour-mark.
An excellent set-piece from the right was met by Aldo Corzo, who saw his header go just wide.
Peru had another glorious chance soon after, but Christian Cueva missed the target in a one-on-one with Claudio Bravo following a pass from Paolo Guerrero.
Vidal almost sealed the result from close range and his team would be punished for their profligacy.
Flores created some room for himself on the edge of the area and fired past Bravo with the outside of his left foot, although the goalkeeper arguably should have done better.
Vidal, however, ensured Chile would collect a vital three points, firing into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards after taking a pass from Isla, extending Peru’s winless run away from home in qualifiers to 28 matches.
culled:Pulse Sports Agency International By Omni Sport