Sports Desk, Feb 1 (EFE).- Alexis Sanchez had a brace Tuesday to power Chile to a 3-2 victory against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier in La Paz.
Chile improved to 19 points and went fifth in the standings by virtue of better goal difference than Uruguay, who have a game in hand.
The top four finishers among the 10 South American teams automatically advance to World Cup 2022 in Qatar, while the team that ends the round in fifth goes to a playoff against a side from the Asian confederation.
Bolivia, with 15 points, are seventh and out of contention for all practical purposes.
The hosts, accustomed to the demands of playing in the high altitude – 3,640 m (11,942 ft) – of La Paz, had the edge on possession and shots.
Even so, Chile took the lead in the 14th minute on the first of Sanchez’s two goals, which came on a direct free kick that caught the Bolivian goalkeeper unawares.
Cameroon-born Marc François Enoumba equalized for Bolivia in the 37th minute with a header off a corner kick, becoming the first African to score a goal in a South American World Cup qualifier.
The deadlock persisted until the 77th minute, when Marcelino Nuñez made it 2-1 for Chile with an assist from Sanchez. The Inter Milan man completed the brace in the 85th minute with a tremendous strike from distance.
Marcelo Moreno Martins narrowed the deficit to one goal in the 88th minute, but Bolivia ran out of time.
The next hurdle for Chile will be facing already qualified Brazil on March 24. EFE