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Friendlies

  • 5 June 2014
  • • 01:00
  • • Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander, Valparaíso
  • Referee: C. Amarilla
  • • Attendance: 20000
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Chile 2-0 Northern Ireland: Vidal returns to action as Alexis plays starring role

Chile 2-0 Northern Ireland: Vidal returns to action as Alexis plays starring role

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The Juventus midfielder came on for the closing 13 minutes in the final World Cup warm-up, in which Barcelona's winger set up goals for Eduardo Vargas and Mauricio Pinilla

Arturo Vidal made his return from knee surgery as Chile overcame Northern Ireland 2-0 in a friendly on Wednesday.

The Juventus star, who underwent surgery in early May, came on in the 77th minute at the Estadio Elias Figueroa Brander in Chile's final friendly before their World Cup campaign begins.

Alexis Sanchez also came off the bench and set up both goals as substitutes Eduardo Vargas and Mauricio Pinilla netted late on.

The win was Chile's 10th straight at home and extended Northern Ireland's winless run to eight matches.

Mauricio Isla, Marcelo Diaz and Gary Medel were the only players to keep their spots in Chile's starting XI which claimed a come-from-behind win over Egypt.

For the Northern Ireland team edged out by Uruguay, Niall McGinn and the ill Chris Baird made way for brothers Conor and Ryan McLaughlin.

It was the latter who fired the game's first shot, testing second-choice Chile goalkeeper Johnny Herrera from range.

Chile were the dominant side in terms of possession, pushing Michael O'Neill's men deep, but they lacked creativity.

Several neat moves were completed by hopeful balls into the box, while the visitors looked most dangerous from set-pieces.

Herrera was forced into a diving save to his right in the 21st minute, punching away Conor McLaughlin's header from a Shane Ferguson set-piece.

A frustrated Chile lost patience and started trying their luck from range as Jorge Valdivia, Fabian Orellana and Diaz had efforts, with only the latter needing Roy Carroll's intervention.

Isla looked dangerous on the right, regularly cutting inside to set up his team-mates for passing or shooting opportunities.

Yet as Chile struggled to test Carroll, Herrera was called into action again six minutes before half-time to save Oliver Norwood's 30-yard free kick.

The hosts continued to enjoy more of the ball after the break and went closest to opening the scoring in the 58th minute.

Valdivia's attempted cross was headed for the top corner, but a scrambling Carroll tipped the effort around his post.

With the introductions of Alexis and Vargas came more energy, and Chile almost made it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Medel's header from a corner found Valdivia at the back post, but the Palmeiras midfielder could only nod his effort against the woodwork.

Diaz forced Carroll into a diving save in the 71st minute, while Sanchez almost scored via a fortunate deflection moments later.

Vidal was then introduced to a huge cheer and was involved in the game's first goal in the 79th minute.

He found Alexis with a short pass and the Barcelona attacker's delightful chipped ball was headed in by Vargas, who appeared to be in an offside position as he netted his third goal in two games.

Alexis then made it five assists in two games, turning his man before feeding through Pinilla to finish neatly through Carroll's legs just three minutes later and give the South Americans a boost ahead of their World Cup opener against Australia on June 13.

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