Alexis Sanchez scored early and set up what proved to be the match-winner only seconds later, and Jean Beausejour added a measure of insurance in second-half stoppage time as Chile prevailed 3-1 over Australia in Cuiaba on Friday.
Sanchez was in good position to slice home Eduardo Vargas’ headed ball after 12 minutes, and shortly before the quarter-hour mark the Barcelona man fed the ball to Jorge Valdivia, who beat Australia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan from distance with a well-placed effort.
But Australia refused to capitulate, and with 10 minutes remaining they were back to within a goal.
Ivan Franjic, who would later go off with an injury, delivered a lovely cross from the right that Cahill got his head to—out-jumping Gary Medel before beating Real Sociedad ‘keeper Claudio Bravo with the finish.
Following are ratings and analysis for both sets of players.
Half-Time analysis for Chile
Bravo: Only a single save to make in the first half for the Real Sociedad goalkeeper.
Medel: Out-jumped by Cahill on the Australia goal.
Diaz: Moving up off his defensive line with regularity.
Jara: Completed 95 percent of his first-half touches.
Isla: Had a late chance at the near corner but will look to get more involved after the restart.
Aranguiz: Movement off the ball has been nearly as good as his distribution.
Vidal: Not looking match fit just yet.
Mena: Causing Franjic the odd problem.
Valdivia: Beat Ryan with an accurate shot from distance to give Chile a 2-0 lead.
Vargas: Headed the ball down for Sanchez to turn into goal.
Sanchez: Already has a goal and an assist.
Full-Time analysis for Chile
Bravo: Absolutely robbed Bresciano just prior to the hour-mark.
Medel: Distribution was impeccable, and he did well to continue his battle with Cahill without getting a booking.
Diaz: Contributed three tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Jara: Looked like he might have pulled Cahill’s shirt in the Chile area.
Isla: Stretched the Australia backline and was effective defensively.
Aranguiz: Faded noticeably after the restart.
Vidal: Withdrawn on the hour-mark; he didn’t look at all fit.
Mena: Added a very physical element to the right-hand side.
Valdivia: Nearly set up another Chile goal with a delightful, back-heel pass.
Vargas: Had a shot cleared off the line.
Sanchez: Went missing after the restart.
Gutierrez: Replaced a struggling Vidal but didn’t exactly upgrade the position.
Beausejour: Sealed the result with a finely-struck effort in stoppage time.
Pinilla: Only a single touch in a late cameo.
Half-Time analysis for Australia
Ryan: Might have done better on the Sanchez opener.
Franjic: Delivered the cross that Cahill headed into the back of the net.
Wilkinson: Struggling when Chile dribble into the box.
Spiranovic: Distribution out of the defense was good, but he and Wilkinson are trying to be more than pylons to the Chilean attack.
Davidson: Won all of his aerial battles in the opening frame.
Jedinak: The skipper has so far committed three fouls.
Milligan: He’s touched the ball just 17 times.
Oar: Had a good chance to release Davidson but put far too much weight on his pass.
Bresciano: Passing has been poor.
Leckie: Not afraid to run at the defense.
Cahill: Used his height and strength to gain advantage on Medel.
Full-Time analysis for Australia
Ryan: No chance whatsoever on the Beausejour hit.
Franjic: Withdrawn through injury early in the second half
Wilkinson: Heroically cleared Vargas’ shot off the line with Ryan well beaten.
Spiranovic: Wasn’t tested nearly as often in the second period.
Davidson: One of Australia’s bright spots, he was a handful for Isla.
Jedinak: He executed four tackles and repeatedly won back possession.
Milligan: Far more effective in the second half and instigated a handful of counter-attacks.
Oar: Replaced by Halloran with 21 minutes remaining.
Bresciano: Denied by a fantastic Bravo save.
Leckie: Made a nuisance of himself down the right, from where he played in several good crosses.
Cahill: Thought he had a second, but it was correctly disallowed for offside.
McGowan: Not a natural right-back, but he deputised well for Franjic.
Halloran: Mostly ineffective, touching the ball just 11 times.
Troisi: A late replacement for Bresciano.