Chile 3 Australia 1 match report: Alexis Sanchez on target as Chile put more pressure on Spain

Tim Cahill pulled the score back to 2-1 before Jean Beausejour scored late on

Chile held off an Australia fightback to open their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over the battling Socceroos in Cuiaba.

The South Americans had threatened a rout after goals from Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia in a whirlwind opening 15 minutes at the Arena Pantanal.

But Australia, the Group B outsiders, showed fighting spirit to reply through inspirational veteran Tim Cahill and they went close to equalising before Jean Beausejour secured the points in stoppage time.

Spain's surprise hammering earlier in the day potentially opened up a route through the group for the highly rated Chileans, and they began as if it was all too easy.

Australia, by contrast, were ragged and cut open with regularity in the early stages. Their goal was breached for the first time in the 12th minute.

Challenges were few and far between as Sanchez found Charles Aranguiz and he was allowed to cross for Eduardo Vargas.

Vargas failed to make clean contact with his header but Australia failed to clear and Sanchez calmly picked his spot and lashed home from six yards.

Chile doubled their lead less than two minutes later as they powerfully swept forward once again.

Sanchez brilliantly turned Mile Jedinak and raced into space as Vargas drew the defence with a well-timed run.

He picked out Valdivia on the edge of the box and the finish, into the roof of the net, was clinical.

The game seemed beyond Australia at that early stage and Chile looked likely to increase their lead as they maintained their tempo for much of the opening half-hour.

But Australia gradually began to settle and Cahill dragged them back into the game with a trademark header.

Chile captain and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo invited pressure with a poor clearance. His defence did appear to repel any threat but Ivan Franjic won the ball back for Australia, exchanged passes with Mathew Leckie and whipped in a dangerous cross into the area.

Former Everton star Cahill timed his leap perfectly to plant a firm header past Bravo.

The game then opened up considerably.

Mauricio Isla was released by a fine pass from Vidal but was denied by a superb challenge from Jason Davidson.

Early in the second half Cahill headed past Bravo once again, from a Leckie, cross only to be frustrated by an offside flag.

Bravo produced a brilliant save to keep out a powerful first-time shot from Mark Bresciano from a Davidson cross.

Play switched quickly to the other end where Alex Wilkinson cleared off the line after Vargas dinked the ball over Maty Ryan from another defence-splitting Sanchez pass.

Bresciano continued to get forward from midfield in search of an equaliser and fired wide. Cahill's presence in advanced positions also gave Chile continuing problems.

Cahill appealed for a penalty after going down in a challenge from Gonzalo Jara with two minutes remaining but nothing was given.

The task proved beyond the Socceroos and substitute Beausejour, of Wigan, wrapped up the scoring after Ryan saved from Mauricio Pinilla.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat