KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time leading scorer with an early goal in their 1-1 draw against Germany in a clash between the top two in Group B at the Confederations Cup on Thursday.
Lars Stindl equalised for the world champions just before halftime although the game petered out in the second half as the high-octane Chileans appeared to run out of gas.
The result left both teams level on four points each from their opening two games, although Chile have the better goal difference. Australia and Cameroon have a point apiece after their 1-1 draw earlier on Thursday.
Sanchez’s goal was his 38th for Chile in 113 appearances as he overtook the previous scoring record held by Marcelo Salas.
Chile again showed they will be a hugely entertaining side at the World Cup next year - provided they qualify.
“I‘m very proud of the intensity we played with,” said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.
“Of course, as the game wore on, we felt the wear and tear but that is natural. It was a very high quality match and we showed we can compete at this level, and at times impose our style.”
The top two teams go through to the semi-finals and there is one round of matches remaining in the group on Sunday, with Germany facing Cameroon and Chile playing Australia.
Germany, now unbeaten in 12 games since their Euro 2016 semi-final exit, gifted Chile a sixth-minute lead when Shkodran Mustafi attempted to play the ball out of defence.
He sent his pass straight to Sanchez who played a one-two with Vidal and toe-poked the ball in off the post.
The referee dampened Chile’s goal celebrations by appearing to call for a video reply, possibly to look at a scything tackle by Mustafi on Vidal, although the goal was quickly confirmed.
Germany initially struggled to cope with the South American side’s high pressing and quick passing game and Chile came close to a second goal when Eduardo Vargas rattled the underside of the bar with a long-range drive.
But Germany equalised against the run of play four minutes before halftime when Stindl turned the ball home from close range after Emre Can’s diagonal pass had sent Jonas Hector free on the left to fire a low cross into the middle.
Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen then had to make a one-handed save at his near post to block a low drive from 28-year-old Arsenal forward Sanchez just before the break.
The second half was much quieter with Stindl producing Germany’s best effort, a low shot saved by Johnny Herrera.
“It was a very tactical, intense game and it was very, very demanding in that sense,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew, who has taken a young squad to the tournament.
“We made a mistake but we immediately recovered and after that were very well organised.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris