Chile have beaten Australia 3-1 despite a valiant effort from the Socceroos. Australia dominated possession and created more chances in the second half. Two very early goals through Sanchez and Valdivia were responsible for putting Chile in front to stay.
The game for the Socceroos started slowly as they were unable to produce any meaningful play, and that hurt Australia, when Chile exploded into life, opening the scoring in the 12th minute through none other than their star player Alexis Sanchez. He poked in from inside the box, and provided the first goal, as the ball was crossed in and fell kindly for Sanchez, and was left with nothing to do but to smack it into the back of the net.
The Socceroos were out on their feet defending very deep, and when the 15th minute arrived, the pressure told. A quick burst up the field through Isla onto Sanchez, another fantastic touch from Sanchez took his marker out of the equation, allowing the Barcelona man to find Jorge Valdivia at the edge of the box — and Valdivia doesn’t disappoint, sending the ball crashing into the net. It was 2-0 to Chile, with a goal and an assist for Sanchez.
Chile continued to attack, and even though the score line looked ominous, the Socceroos hit back in the 36th minute. Some slick passing between Mark Bresciano, Mathew Leckie and finally to Ivan Franjic, allowing him to get wide and put in a beautiful curling cross to none other than Timmy Cahill. His trademark powerful header featuring again, leaping high and smashing it into the top corner of the net.
Unfortunately for Australia, Franjic suffered a hamstring injury in the dying seconds of the first half, and had to be subbed off for Ryan McGowan.
Just when you thought it would be Chile’s day, Australia were fighting to get back into the game, and that’s exactly what they did come the second half. They scrapped and searched for an equalizer and it appeared as though Cahill had scored off another perfect cross from Leckie. However, the goal was disallowed because of a marginal offside.
Bresciano then fired a left-foot shot on target, forcing Bravo to make a scramble save as Australia’s attack intensified.
You could see on the face of Chilean coach Jorge Sampaoli that he was beginning to panic. It was then in the 60th minute that Vidal was subbed off. He was not at 100% during this match, and suddenly Chile began to retreat into a more defensive formation in an attempt to stop the Socceroos attack.
Australia Manager Ange Posteucoglou made two changes late in the second half with Ben Halloran replacing Tommy Oar and James Troisi coming on for Mark Bresciano. This provided more speed in the Socceroos attack.
However in the 90th minute and Pinilla (substitute for Vargas) rushed down the left hand side and his shot was well saved by Mat Ryan, but Jean Beausejour (substitute for Valdivia) struck the rebound with his left foot burying it into the far right of the net.
At that stage, it was game over. However, the Socceroos pushed Chile all the way and credit must go to the players and coaching staff for the attack minded approach in looking for the equalizer, they were by far the better team in the second half.
This match will give both teams confidence moving forward with the Socceroos next match against Netherlands, and Chile playing Spain.
C. Bravo, E. Mena , G. Jara, M. Isla, A. Vidal, J. Valdivia, G. Medel, C. Aránguiz, M. Diaz, A. Sánchez, E. Vargas
M. Ryan, I. Franjić, J. Davidson, M. Špiranović, A. Wilkinson, T. Cahill, M. Milligan,
M. Leckie, M. Jedinak, M. Bresciano, T. Oar