Arturo Vidal's header nine minutes from time helped Chile to a 2-0 win over Cameroon in Group B of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday.
Vidal was teed up by Alexis Sanchez, who started the game on the bench while he nursed an ankle injury. Eduardo Vargas wrapped up the win with a neat finish in stoppage time, which must have felt like justice after he hit the post in the first minute and had a goal chalked off for offside during the opening half.
The big team news was Arsenal forward Sanchez didn't start because of an ankle problem, per James Benge of the London Evening Standard. Even without their talisman, La Roja were still brimming with quality, with Bayern Munich ace Vidal at the heart of midfield, per FIFA.com.
Meanwhile, Besiktas striker Vincent Aboubakar led Cameroon.
With Sanchez watching on, Chile started brightly, as Vargas hit the post inside 60 seconds. Not deterred, La Roja continued to probe, with Vidal and classy schemer Marcelo Diaz pulling the strings in midfield.
Cameroon had goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa to thank for keeping them in it, as the 21-year-old stopper made several saves to frustrate Vargas, Vidal and Co. Ondoa was called into action so often because his nation simply couldn't get their passing going.
Chile thought the lead was finally theirs a minute before the break, only for Vargas' effort to be ruled out for offside after video review. It meant for all their dominance, La Roja went in goalless at the half.
Sanchez came off the bench two minutes short of the hour mark with Chile still struggling to create clear-cut chances. Charles Aranguiz made way for Francisco Silva as Chile sought more creativity.
Meanwhile, Cameroon were struggling for width, with the Indomitable Lions not getting much from Christian Bassogog. Aboubakar was also quiet up top, as Cameroon struggled to release him between the lines.
While Cameroon lacked inspiration, La Roja found it from a familiar source when Sanchez crossed for Vidal to nod in the winner. As Squawka Football detailed, Vidal has established a niche for scoring at the international level:
Speaking of a niche, Squawka's Jake Entwistle noted how Sanchez has become a prolific provider of goals for his country:
Vargas doubled the lead in stoppage time to give Chile the margin of victory their commanding performance merited.
La Roja can play better, but they have still proved there is enough quality in the final third to make them major contenders as the tournament progresses.