Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli paid tribute to striker Alexis Sanchez after the Arsenal man inspired his country to a 4-3 win over 10-man Peru in qualification for the World Cup.
Sanchez scored twice and assisted Eduardo Vargas’ second in Lima as Sampaoli’s men made it two wins from two in their bid to reach the tournament in Russia.
The 26-year-old arrived for international duty nursing a slight groin problem but has nine goals in his last five games for club and country.
And Sampaoli said: “Alexis was instrumental with both his assists and his goals. He showed the quality that he has.”
The Copa America champions have not lost since March, carrying their Copa form into qualification with victories over Brazil and Peru.
Having battled back from 2-1 down to lead 4-2 and survived a late scare with Paolo Guerrero’s 90th-minute goal, Sampaoli highlighted his side’s improvement in recent months.
“We have progressed in style and that allows us to think that on a very difficult pitch against a team in front, we can play football in a place where many teams would have done otherwise,” he added.
“This is a process that will hopefully grow and consolidate, in order for Chile to qualify for the World Cup.
“I think it was a very intense game and Peru, even with 10 men, never gave up. Peru are a good team and they will surely get more points because it is difficult to play away here.”