Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi and Chile picked up a big three points in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday, defeating Venezuela by a score of 4-1 at Barinas. It was Pizzi's first victory with the Chilean national team after taking over for Jorge Sampaoli.
After La Roja fell down 1-0 on a remarkable direct free kick by Romulo Otero early on, Mauricio Pinilla scored two goals and Arturo Vidal followed him with two more as the Chileans scored four unanswered goals to earn the uplifting win.
Chile now has ten points through six matches in qualifying play, setting them up just above the threshold to advance to the 2018 World Cup if it was to occur now. La Vinotinto, however, has just one point and dwells at the bottom of the South American table.
How It Went Down
The game started out well for the Venezuelan side, as the home side gained a 1-0 advantage nine minutes into the game. Romulo Otero stepped up for a very deep free kick from the left side of the box, and he absolutely drilled it into the top left corner of the net from range, beating Universidad de Chile keeper Johnny Herrera for one heck of a golazo.
Herrera was starting in goal for Chile while normal first-string goalkeeper Claudio Bravo sat on the bench due to the late booking he picked up against Argentina in the last match on Thursday.
Mauricio Pinilla and La Roja equalized in the 33rd minute, as Alexis Sanchez fed in the second of two consecutive corners and found the head of Pinilla, who snapped in the ball to gain Chile's first goal of the night.
Chile had multiple chances in the closing minutes of the half, but none could beat keeper Jose Contreras, and so it went into half with the two sides tied at one goal apiece.
Pinilla was quick to double up and score a second goal to give Chile the lead in the 52nd minute. The Chileans were pressuring Venezuela in the attacking half, dispossessing their opponents multiple times until the ball came out onto the left wing for Jean Beausejour. Beausejour took a touch and fed Pinilla with a phenomenal low cross, which the Atalanta man made no mistake in slotting home near-post, giving Chile a 2-1 lead.
With Pinilla having notched a brace, Chile was not yet done, and Arturo Vidal, after missing Thursday's loss to Argentina due to suspension, wanted a brace of his own.
And he got just that, scoring twice in the second half.
Vidal put La Roja up 3-1 in the 72nd off a Fabian Orellana leading ball. Orellana charged down the right side of the penalty area and fed through a pass to the Bayern Munich man, who had just the goalie to beat from the center of the box. He beat Venezuela's Contreras with a precise blast to the left side of the net.
Stoppage time hit with Chile still leading by two goals, but Vidal grabbed his second-half brace two minutes into the injury period, easily tapping in a brilliant Alexis Sanchez ball to make it 4-1. La Roja's two main stars exhibited some great one-two interplay, and Alexis ended up with acres of open space on the right side of the attacking area. He avoided a defender's sliding tackle try and found Vidal perched right in front of goal with an easy look at a score. The midfielder got the easy chance and simply tapped it in for his second goal of the game.
And with that the game ended, giving Chile the win and handing another no-point performance to Venezuela, whose only consolation will be the screamer of a goal scored by Otero.