Relief for Alexis Sanchez after scoring first goal in five months, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Relief for Alexis Sanchez after scoring first goal in five months

Manchester United misfit Alexis Sanchez said he has come through one of the worst periods of his career, after scoring in Chile's 4-0 thrashing of Japan in the Copa America yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Sanchez's first goal in five months was sandwiched by a double from journeyman striker Eduardo Vargas, who continued his remarkable consistency for his country by scoring at a fourth consecutive major tournament.

The 2015 and 2016 Copa champions had taken the lead in the first half with a towering header from midfielder Erick Pulgar.

Said Sanchez: "For six weeks, I felt worse than I ever have before.

"I struggled in the first half as I felt stifled but, in the second half, I was more relaxed and played with more freedom and excitement."

The win put Chile joint top of Group C with Uruguay, who hammered Ecuador 4-0 on Sunday.

Japan, one of two guest teams in the South American championship alongside Qatar, were fielding a largely young and inexperienced side ahead of next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Striker Ayase Ueda missed a chance to equalise in the first half, while Real Madrid's new signing Takefusa Kubo missed the target late in the game. - REUTERS