Chile clear Sanchez to play Uruguay

Alexis Sanchez, who missed Chile's 0-0 draw in Colombia last week, training on Sunday. The striker may reignite a club-versus-country row by playing against Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's wishes.
Alexis Sanchez, who missed Chile's 0-0 draw in Colombia last week, training on Sunday. The striker may reignite a club-versus-country row by playing against Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's wishes.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SANTIAGO • Alexis Sanchez has been declared fit by Chile for today's World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, despite Arsene Wenger's warning playing the forward could be a "suicidal decision" that would leave the 27-year-old injured for months.

Sanchez suffered what Wenger said was a hamstring injury in training with Chile and missed their game against Colombia last week.

The Arsenal manager expressed concern that Sanchez would be pressed into action and suffer a serious setback and will watch anxiously how his key forward copes against Uruguay.

However, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Sanchez was ready to return, along with Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal.

"Sanchez was not ready for the game in Colombia, but we knew the injury was a small one and we could have him for this match.

"The three of them (Sanchez, Vidal and Bravo) are available to me for the match," Pizzi said at a press conference.

He also dismissed any suggestions the injured players' clubs had sought to influence his selections.

"At no time have we received pressure from any club. My stance is that I will never use a player who is not fit or capable of playing," the Spaniard added.

Arsenal play at Manchester United on Saturday in a lunchtime kick-off. Whether Wenger would look to start Sanchez there given the swift turnaround from flying back from Chile is now unclear.

The Chileans are fifth in South America's qualifying section on 17 points after 11 games, while Brazil top the 10-team standings on 24 points.

Nevertheless, Brazil coach Tite has warned his side to be wary of Peru's attacking threats - Christian Cueva and Paolo Guerrero - when the two teams clash today.

Cueva matched Guerrero's qualifying tally of three goals by scoring in the 4-1 win away at Paraguay last Thursday, a win that moved Peru within three points of the region's four automatic qualifying spots.

"Cueva, Guerrero, they are players that are important," Tite told reporters.

Brazil midfielder Fernandinho also adopted a cautious tone, with Peru losing only once at home in five qualifying matches.

"Peru is at home with the players that they have. We respect them a lot and know the qualities they have," he said.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

CHILE V URUGUAY
Singtel TV Ch110, 7.25am

PERU V BRAZIL
Singtel TV Ch109, 10.10am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Chile clear Sanchez to play Uruguay'. Print Edition | Subscribe