SANTIAGO, March 26 (Reuters) - Striker Esteban Paredes, handed a late call-up at the weekend, inspired Chile to a rousing 2-0 victory against Uruguay in Santiago on Tuesday that ended a run of four defeats in their World Cup qualifying.
Paredes, who plays for Mexico’s Atlante, was called into coach Jorge Sampaoli’s squad after Alexis Sanchez’s suspension on Friday and with Humberto Suazo having made himself unavailable due to poor form.
Paredes grabbed his chance with both hands, latching onto a rebound off defender Matias Aguirregaray to score Chile’s first with a low shot after 10 minutes, with fellow striker Eduardo Vargas sealing the win in the 77th minute at the Estadio Nacional.
The decisive victory ensured Chile leapfrogged Uruguay into one of the South American qualifying berths, while pushing the Copa America holders out of the top five.
The top four at the end of qualifying go straight through to the 2014 finals in Brazil, with the fifth-placed team meeting an Asian side in a playoff.
Chile started in good shape and attacked Uruguay on the left through winger Jean Beausejour, whose early cross set up Paredes’ goal.
Paredes had another good chance in 19th minute when he dribbled past a defender but his shot was just wide.
Uruguay’s world class strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were short of chances in the first half, the midfielders finding little space to create.
The visitors lifted their attack after the break but lacked ideas to intimidate and their opponents held firm in defence, barring a fierce long-range shot from defender Alejandro Silva that shook the bar in the 70th minute.
Vargas put the result beyond doubt for Chile seven minutes later when he swooped on a rebound from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and found the net to put the home side a step closer to Brazil.
Editing by Rex Gowar and Ian Ransom