Ecuador 1-2 Chile: Alexis Sanchez leads holders into Copa America last eight
Last Updated: 23/06/19 9:32am
Alexis Sanchez led Chile to the quarter-finals of the Copa America, despite sustaining another ankle injury.
Playing in pain after getting hurt in the opening 45 minutes, Sanchez scored a second-half winner to give Chile a 2-1 victory over Ecuador and a spot in the last eight of the competition on Friday.
Sanchez stayed on after taking pain pills and scored in the 51st minute at the Arena Fonte Nova, securing the two-time defending champions a place in the knockout stage.
"I twisted my ankle. I kept playing for the love I have for this national team," he said. "When I play for my country, I'm always playing happy."
Sanchez found the far corner with a clever first-time effort over Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez after a cross by Charles Aranguiz. It was the second goal of the tournament for the Chile forward, who was coming off a difficult season with Manchester United and recovered from another ankle injury just in time for the Copa America.
"Fortunately it wasn't the same ankle he injured with Manchester United," said Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda. "He is motivated when he is with the national team."
It was Sanchez's 43rd goal for Chile, who are looking for a third straight Copa title a year after not making it to the World Cup in Russia.
Jose Pedro Fuenzalida put Chile ahead with a strike in the eighth minute and Enner Valencia equalised for Ecuador from the penalty spot in the 26th.
Ecuador played the final minutes a man down after defender Gabriel Achilier was sent off for elbowing Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal.