Chile defeated Cameroon 2-0 in Confederations Cup action. The Daily Mail: “Chile endured a largely frustrating opening to their Confederations Cup campaign before finally breaking through in the final ten minutes to beat Cameroon.
The CONMEBOL champions thought they had taken the lead just before half time against the African Cup of Nations winners when Eduardo Vargas tucked home, but it was ruled offside via the VAR system.
However Arturo Vidal in the 80th minute rose to head home from six yards following a cross by Alexis Sanchez, who was introduced as a second half substitute. Chile doubled their advantage in stoppage time when Vargas finally go on the scoresheet – although it was only given after another VAR referral.
Chile were on top from the start, with former QPR player Vargas hitting the post after just 50 seconds.
However they were made to toil for long periods by determined Cameroon, unexpected participants in this tournament after surprisingly winning January’s Africa Cup of Nations.
They thought they were in front when Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui beat Chile keeper Johnny Herrera to a free kick and headed in.
However the goal was ruled out for an earlier foul and the Africans never came as close again.
Just before half time, came the first moment of real controversy. Vargas was set free by a defence-splitting pass and chipped the ball into the net.
As the Chile players piled together in a mass celebration, the decision was referred to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), which saw that Vargas was millimetres offside.
The goal was ruled out, much to the fury of the Chileans and especially Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal who harangued the officials down the tunnel as half time came.
Chile have come into this tournament as one of the favourites after winning the Copa America and bringing a strong squad to Russia, but for long periods looked to be struggling under the tag.
They were without Sanchez – as talismanic for his country as he is for Arsenal – after an ankle sprain in training saw him start on the bench.
He was introduced in the 58th minute, but for his first 20 minutes made little impact on the game as a goalless draw looked likely.
However Sanchez’s innate quality is obvious, and with 10 minutes to go he linked up with Bayern Munich midfielder Vidal – a combination Gunners fans will be praying we do not see more of next season.
Sanchez chipped in a cross from the left to the far post, directly onto Vidal’s well-sculpted hair, and he headed home from six yards.
Chile got a second in stoppage time, Sanchez breaking clear and looking set to get his name on the score sheet, only to do too much and get crowded out. The ball broke fortunately for Vargas, who slammed home, but the goal was initially ruled out for offside. VAR intervened again and this time in favour of Chile, showing there were two Cameroon defenders between Vargas and the goal line.
He celebrated with his bench, knowing three points is crucial if Chile are to finish above world champions Germany – who they play next in Kazan – in Group B.