Ben Brereton helped keep Chile’s World Cup hopes alive by netting the opener in a vital 2-0 win over Paraguay.

Coach Martin Lasarte said his side must take six points from their two home games which followed defeat in Peru to stand any chance of qualifying for Qatar 2022, and they are half way to achieving that after victory in Santiago.

Brereton opened the scoring when collecting a 67th minute Alexis Sanchez pass to rifle home from a tight angle, sending the Chile fans wild in celebration. They had even more to celebrate four minutes later when Mauricio Isla double the advantage. That was the end of the scoring, but both teams did end with 10 men.



Brereton was only set to feature in Chile’s first two qualifiers, having sat out the September matches because of concerns about the quarantine requirements upon his return. A resolution was later reached which would have seen him return after the Paraguay fixture, however, amendments to the quarantine restrictions, as well as Chile being removed from the UK Government’s red list, will see Brereton stay with La Roja for the third game of the window.

That comes in the early hours of Friday morning UK time, and is set to rule Brereton out of featuring in the weekend visit of Coventry City, though Rovers hope to have their top scorer back in action for the trip to QPR on October 19.

The 22-year-old has 10 goals in 11 games for Rovers, and now two in seven caps for Chile since pledging his allegiance to the country of his mother’s birth in the summer.

Reserving praise for Brereton, Lasarte said: "Ben is a very strange phenomenon, that special rapport he has with people. He gives himself a lot, he is growing in his competency and we saw him better technically than on other occasions.”

On the incredible response to his goal, Brereton wrote on social media: "What an atmosphere. What a moment. Something I will never forget, thanks to the team and the fans."

Lasarte has come under fire for the side’s results, as despite reaching the knockout stages of the Copa America, they won only one match, that being the 1-0 win over Bolivia in which Brereton opened his account for his country.

Goals and wins have been in short supply since, the Paraguay success only a second in 11 games, leaving them eighth in the South American qualification standings.

Despite the victory against sixth-placed Paraguay, Chile remain eighth, six points behind Uruguay who occupy fourth spot which would guarantee automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup, and five shy of Colombia in fifth with seven games remaining.

The fifth-placed side will qualify for the play-offs and appears to be Chile’s best hopes of qualification, though they will be buoyed by the fact they host a Venezuela side who sit bottom of the standings with four successive defeats in their next game.

Head coach Lasarte has been under intense pressure in the wake of recent results, but praised his team, and thanked the supporters, after a much-needed three points kept their qualification hopes alive.

"We are very happy because the team performed very well, defensively, attacking and goals. I am very proud and satisfied with the work of the boys. With a very high attitude and will,” Lasarte added.

"This victory allows us to be closer to the teams that go to the World Cup.

"The crowd was extraordinary and super emotional. It filled us all with energy. I want to congratulate the supporters that came. It was a pleasure."