Sanchez inspires Bafana defeat
An impressive Chile side cruised to a 2-0 away victory over South Africa in a friendly today. Jorge Valdivia put La Roja ahead in first-half stoppage time at a packed Peter Mokaba Stadium, and man-of-the-match Alexis Sanchez added a second on 67 minutes.
Chile, fourth behind Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina in South American Zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ after ten rounds, thrived from the outset and would not have been flattered by a wider winning margin. Short, simple passing often left Bafana Bafana chasing shadows, and they quickly closed down their hosts.
And the speed of the Chileans when attacking created numerous chances that must have satisfied even hard-to-please coach Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentinian made his intentions clear when his side landed in South Africa on Sunday, barring the media and public from his two pre-match training sessions in Johannesburg.
With Bielsa dodging the post-match interviews, it was left to Sanchez to face the cameras. "I am very happy for myself and my team. It was a very good game and ideal preparation for our World Cup qualifier in Peru next month," said the Udinese player, who tormented South Africa left-back Tsepo Masilela throughout.
Asked about the team he and his team-mates had toyed with at times in the closing stages of the game, Sanchez replied: "They are a very good team with very good players."
Bafana Bafana coach, Joel Santana, said: "We need these difficult matches to build a team for the future. We also created chances, but Chile were luckier."
In truth, Chile goalkeeper and captain Claudio Bravo was rarely tested by a lacklustre strike force. Valdivia half-volleyed the South Americans ahead after South Africa failed to clear a Mark Gonzalez cross, and Sanchez dribbled through several tackles before firing wide of goalkeeper Calvin Marlin for the second.