Chile’s quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup suffered another setback after they lost 1-0 to Perú in Lima in Jorge Sampaoli’s first competitive match in charge of the national team.
After a slow start to the match la roja slowly got on top in the first half. It was in the midfield where the Chileans dominated their opponents with Carlos Carmona exerting his influence in a part of the pitch that was missing regulars Marcelo Díaz, Matías Fernández and Arturo Vidal.
Chile’s best chances came in the 17th minute, when an Alexís Sánchez effort was cleared off the line, and in the 34th minute when Marcos González’s header rebounded off a Peruvian defender and onto the crossbar. Jorge Sampaoli’s men also had what appeared to be a clear penalty waved away after Mauricio Isla, who was having his best game for the national team in a while, was brought down in the area.
Perú started the second half very much on the front foot and had two great chances in the opening minutes of the half to open the scoring but they found an inspired Claudio Bravo in their way. The home side’s onslaught continued and in attempt to regain control of the midfield Sampaoli brought on Francisco Silva for Charles Aránguiz nine minutes into the half.
Sánchez dropped deeper into midfield in order get more time on the ball as la roja were forced to play on the counter attack. The Peruvians for their part were left ruing some poor finishing and some excellent saves from Bravo. The Chileans did have their chances with Eduardo Vargas having the best chances in the 56th and 60th minutes but couldn’t find a way past Peruvian goalkeeper Raul Fernández.
The last half hour, like most of the match, was played at a frenetic pace and Sampaoli strangely chose to introduce Nicolás Castillo and Junior Fernándes into the fray for the visitors. It was a mistake by the latter that lead to the only goal of the game in the 86th minute courtesy of Jefferson Farfan that sent the home fans into delirium. Although much of the blame post match was laid at the feet of Fernándes for his mistake but one should be questioning Sampaoli’s decision to introduce him in the first place.
The loss continues a trend of Sampaoli losing his first competitive match as manager and sees Chile remain on 12 points in sixth position on the table. Next up is a clash with Uruguay on home soil and anything less than a win could prove disastrous.