Chile ended a four match losing streak in World Cup qualifiers as they reignited their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the Estadio Nacional.
There was much soul searching after the weekend loss to Perú in the lead up to the clash with Uruguay as la roja contemplated not qualifying for the tournament in Brazil next year. Jorge Sampaoli made three changes to the starting XI from the weekend with Marcelo Díaz returning in place of Carlos Carmona, Marcos González made way for Gonzalo Jara and Esteban Paredes was recalled from Mexico for the suspended Alexís Sánchez.
The thing that defined Universidad de Chile under Jorge Sampaoli was their relentless pressuring of their opponents and in his second competitive match in charge of the national team we saw Chile start to show some of those characteristics looking a much different team that appeared bereft of ideas against Peru. Early on the home side pressed their opponents high with Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour looking particular dangerous on their respective wings.
That pressure paid off in the tenth minute as Esteban Paredes dispossessed Uruguayan defender Matías Aguirregaray on the edge of his own area before laying it off to the aforementioned Beausejour whose cross was not dealt with by the los celeste defence and Paredes finished off his good work by poking home the opener. The striker, who is currently plying his trade in Mexico, had a chance to make it two eight minutes later but he skewed his right foot shot wide of the mark.
Gradually Uruguay managed to work their way into the match and started to threaten the goal of Claudio Bravo. A combination of good defending and poor finishing frustrated the visitors and Luis Suarez was lucky not to get his marching orders after reacting to the close attention of Gonzalo Jara with a punch to the face.
After the break Uruguayan manager Óscar Táberez replaced Aguirregaray, who was getting a working over on the wings, with Alejandro Silva and the visitors dominated much of the opening minutes of the second half. Silva came close to levelling things up in the 54th minute when his long range effort hit the crossbar with Bravo well beaten. In an attempt to arrest back control Sampaoli brought on talisman Matías Fernández for Charles Aránguiz but Uruguay still dominated much of the play.
It seemed only a matter of time for los celeste to equalise and Silva again was again the catalyst as he forced a save out of Bravo in the 60th minute. But it was the Chileans who were next to score as a brilliant through ball from Fernández put Mauricio Isla through one of one with Uruguayan keeper, Fernando Muslera who managed to parry his shot but fortunately for la roja Eduardo Vargas was on hand to slot home the rebound sending the crowd into delirium. Paredes had a chance to make it three in the dying moments but Muslera was on hand to deny him his brace.
The win sees Chile move to fifteen points and into fourth position on the qualifying table, ahead of Venezuela on goal difference.