Chile imposed history against Peru
The last time Peru won in Santiago was on February 24, 1985, in a friendly match. Since then, the protagonists of the Pacific classic faced each other 20 times in Chile, with 18 wins for La Roja and two draws. They are, in other words, eight consecutive victories for whoever served as host at the Monumental Stadium.
That factor, more than any other, allowed Berizzo’s squad to take the first three points in these qualifiers. With very poor football again, and betting on stopped balls, which allowed him to open the account in the 73rd minute with a corner kick from Alexis Sánchez that was finished off at the wedding of the goal by América de México’s scorer, Diego Valdés.
That goal came at the right time, when helplessness was taking over the Reds and the rigid visitor scheme was getting ready to make the changes that would allow it to get even minimally close to the rival goal. The criticism from the Peruvian press has been harsh against Juan Reynoso, the replacement for Ricardo Gareca, the coach who returned them to the forefront of football on the continent.
The joy of the victory overshadowed the legitimate doubts cast by the Chilean approach, which once again lacked surprise and depth, but had a midfield that had no cracks and that, despite not feeding Alexis Sánchez and Ben Brereton, had unrestricted possession of the ball.
The 2-0 came with two young figures who have known each other since the training process, Alexander Aravena and Marcelino Núñez, who finally took advantage of the spaces to score a lethal counterattack.
The South American qualifiers are already setting trends. While Argentina, the world champion, has three victories with little contribution from Messi, Brazil had an unexpected setback against Venezuela, Chile’s next rival. A result that complicates scratch and that accelerates and speeds up the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, the coach chosen to win the World Cup.
In this part of the world, history weighs heavily. There is a duel that, traditionally, pits two teams that have battled for decades to win. That, and the dead ball that gave it life, was the key to a victory that gave air to a Chile that needed it. And a lot.