Sports

Sanchez scores, assists to help Chile take 2-1 lead over Australia at halftime in World Cup

Chilean fans cheer before the start of the group B World Cup soccer match between Chile and Australia in the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Chilean fans cheer before the start of the group B World Cup soccer match between Chile and Australia in the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)  (The Associated Press)

Alexis Sanchez scored one goal and set up another to help Chile take a 2-1 lead at halftime of its opening Group B match against Australia in the World Cup on Friday.

A trademark headed goal by Tim Cahill in the 35th minute gave the Australians something to cling to after a first half Chile dominated at a muggy Arena Pantanal.

Justifying its tag as a dangerous outsider in the tournament, Chile went ahead in the 12th minute when Sanchez poked home a finish inside the near post after Australia captain Mile Jedinak failed to clear Charles Aranguiz's cross.

Australia's flimsy defense was opened up again barely a minute later, with Sanchez spinning his marker and laying the ball across for playmaker Jorge Valdivia to finish high into the net.