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Sanchez ankle injury to be assessed

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Sanchez ankle injury to be assessed


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23 Jun 2019, 21:20 IST
AlexisSanchez - cropped
Chile forward Alexis Sanchez

Chile will assess the fitness of star forward Alexis Sanchez before they contest top spot in Copa America Group C against Uruguay.

Sanchez has put his Manchester United struggles behind him to net in each of La Roja’s wins so far in Brazil.

However, he was already carrying an ankle knock by the time he scored decisively after 51 minutes of the 2-1 triumph over Ecuador last time out.

Should he take to the field, the 30-year-old will feature in opposition to some of this generation’s finest attacking talent from South America.

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez also has two goals from two outings in the competition after converting a penalty in the 2-2 draw against Japan, while Edinson Cavani netted an overhead kick in La Celeste’s opening 4-0 thumping of Ecuador.

Chile beat Japan by the same scoreline, meaning only a victory can see Uruguay through as group winners – a result that would undoubtedly feel particularly sweet for Cavani, who was controversially sent-off when La Roja won an ill-tempered contest 1-0 on their way to glory in 2015.

“We know that Chile have a well-drilled game plan, we’ve known it for a long time. They’re well oiled,” Cavani told reporters.

“We know what kind of rivals Chile are.”

After their last Copa meeting, Chile and Uruguay claimed a win apiece in their showdowns as part of 2018 World Cup qualification.

Uruguay ran out 3-0 winners in Montevideo in November 2015 thanks to goals from Diego Godin, Alvaro Pereira and Martin Caceres.

They were beaten a year later in Santiago as an Eduardo Vargas strike and a Sanchez double overturned Cavani’s opener.

However, four defeats from the subsequent six qualifiers saw Chile miss out on Russia 2018, where Uruguay were beaten by eventual winners France in the quarter-finals.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chile – Gonzalo Jara

The experienced defender has been a substitute for each of Chile’s matches in the competition so far, although Reinaldo Rueda should arguably pick him against Uruguay for nuisance value alone. Jara provoked Cavani into a red card when the sides met in 2015, retrospectively earning a ban of his own after replays showed he poked a finger up the striker’s bottom. Two years earlier, Suarez was dismissed for punching his marker after Jara appeared to touch him in a different but no-less intimate area. All eyes will be on the 33-year-old if he features at any stage.

Uruguay – Jose Gimenez

Sanchez and Vargas might have enjoyed themselves in chalking up two goals apiece so far, but they are likely to have to raise their game further against Uruguay’s defensive master Godin and his long-time partner Gimenez. The Atletico Madrid centre-back scored against Japan and is also a persistent threat at the other end, owing to Uruguay’s prowess from dead-ball situations. Between the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Copa America nine of their 13 goals came from set-pieces, including six via corners.

Key Opta facts

– Uruguay (45) have attempted 20 shots more than Chile (25) so far in the 2019 Copa America.
– Sanchez is the only Chilean player to have netted in four Copas America. He has scored five goals against Uruguay, more than he has against any other nation.
– Suarez is only the third Uruguayan player in history to have scored in four consecutive appearances in the Copa America after Pedro Petrone (five, between 1923 and 1924) and Severino Varela (four, between 1937 and 1939).
– Against Chile, Oscar Tabarez will become the first ever manager to reach 200 games as head coach of the same national team (W98 D48 L53).

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