Chile will pick back up its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in Peru on Thursday when the two teams from the bottom half of the table will be desperate for points.
CONMEBOL contenders are running out of time to secure their places in Qatar after passing the halfway mark in qualifying, with only a point separating seventh-place Peru from La Roja directly below.
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Chile will be sorely disappointed with earning just one win from its opening games, a trend that would surely lead to a tired-looking squad failing in its World Cup bid should it persist.
Martin Lasarte’s side is six points off the qualifying places as things stand, and victory at the Estadio Nacional del Perú would go a long way towards elevating its hopes of advancing.
And it just so happens a 2-0 result against Peru last November accounts for Chile’s only qualifying win to date, when Arturo Vidal came up with both goals.
Inter Milan team-mate Alexis Sánchez should also be in Lasarte’s XI, while Blackburn Rovers sensation and former England under-20 Ben Brereton Diaz targets a fourth international start.
While one of the less threatening attacks in South America searches for solutions, Ricardo Gareca hopes to patch up a Peru defense second only to Bolivia (22) for goals conceded so far in qualifying.
Los Incas are something of a statistical nightmare in that their offensive output is also lacking, with only one Venezuela (five) having failed to beat their eight goals scored up to this points.
There was hope talisman and Al Hilal star André Carrillo would be fit despite undergoing treatment for a back issue, but Gareca suggested on Wednesday this qualifier could come too soon.
Carrillo, 30, is Peru’s top scorer in World Cup qualifying with three goals thus far, and his absence would rob an already limp-looking attack of its most dangerous threat.
That would be welcome news for a Chile team that’s winless in its last seven, their longest streak without a victory since an eight-game drought in 2004.