Sánchez fires Chile past Ecuador into quarter-finals

Group C

Ecuador 1-2 Chile

Alexis Sanchez scored again as Chile moved into the Copa America quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Ecuador on Friday.

Sanchez struck for the second time in as many games, his 51st-minute goal enough to see Chile onto six points and through from Group C.

Jose Fuenzalida’s opener had earlier been cancelled out by an Enner Valencia penalty in an encounter that never reached any great heights in Salvador.

But Sanchez’s goal put the two-time defending champions into the last eight with a game to spare in the group, with Gabriel Achilier seeing red late on for Ecuador.

Chile made the perfect start, taking an eighth-minute lead through Fuenzalida.

A corner was only partly cleared by Ecuador and Fuenzalida smashed a loose ball in off the inside of the post for his fifth international goal.

Chile were the dominant side early, but they were pegged back against the run of play in the 26th minute.

Jhegson Mendez was brought down by goalkeeper Gabriel Arias after getting on the end of a pass and Valencia converted down the middle to take his tally of international goals to 29.

Chile were increasingly direct as the half went on as both teams struggled to impact in the attacking third, while fouls saw the game robbed of rhythm.

However, Chile restored their lead early in the second half thanks to Sanchez.

Charles Aranguiz created space for a cross from the right and Sanchez, unmarked at the back post, side-footed his effort into the corner.

Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez was called into action in the 64th minute, doing well to push away an Erick Pulgar header from a corner.

Chile managed to control the remainder of the contest and Ecuador’s Achilier was sent off in the 89th minute for elbowing Arturo Vidal.

Chile can secure top spot in the group by avoiding defeat against Uruguay in a blockbuster clash in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, while Ecuador meet Japan.

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