South American World Cup Qualifying Round-Up: Chile Qualify For South Africa, Uruguay Almost There
Chile qualified directly for the World Cup after beating Colombia, while Uruguay are almost there after picking up a dramatic injury-time win over Ecuador.
Ecuador 1-2 Uruguay
Uruguay are still in the hunt for a World Cup place after coming from behind to beat Ecuador 2-1 with a controversial penalty kick conversion from Diego Forlan late into second half injury-time.
The first half was highly disputed as both teams searched for a goal that would release an enormous amount of tension. But both created few goal-scoring opportunities, with Ecuador perhaps playing slightly the better football.
After the break the game opened up a great deal, and this meant that more goal-mouth action was on display.
To the joy of the locals, Ecuador went ahead in the 67th minute when Manchester United’s Antonio Valenciaheaded home a difficult cross at the back post.
But their lead lastly shortly, as two minutes later Ajax Amsterdam’s Luis Suarez drew Uruguay level after a swift counterattack.
When it seemed that the game was well and truly over, in second half injury-time substitute Edison Cavani was impeded in the area and Uruguay had an opportunity to win the game from the penalty spot.
Diego Forlan stepped up to the spot and made no mistake with a brilliant finish to hand Uruguay a dramatic 2-1 victory. If Uruguay beat Argentina in Montevideo next week they will qualify directly for the World Cup.
Colombia 2-4 Chile
Chile qualified directly for the World Cup in South Africa after defeating Colombia 4-2 at the Atanasio Girardot stadium in Medellin.
But the Chileans took an early shock, as Colombia went ahead in the 12th minute whenArturo Vidal converted a silly own goal.
Marcelo Bielsa’s team came more into the game as the half progressed, and ten minutes into the second half Waldo Ponce drew Chile level with a powerful header.
One minute later Humberto Suazo put Chile ahead when he took advantage of a lapse of concentration in the Colombia defence with a smart header.
After the break both teams had their chances to score, as the determined Colombians went out looking for an equaliser.
It finally came in the 62nd minute through Giovanni Moreno, who was given space in the area.
However, goals from Jorge Valdivia (71′) and Fabian Orellana (78′) earned Chile three precious points that sent them through to their first World Cup finals since 1998.
Colombia, on the other hand, were eliminated from the running, after a very disappointing campaign.
Venezuela 1-2 Paraguay
Venezuela needed to claim all three points in order to remain with possibilities of qualifying for their first ever World Cup, however, they couldn’t find their momentum, and fell to a 2-1 defeat to Paraguay in Puerto Ordaz.
The already qualified Paraguayans dominated their opponents in the first half, but although they proved to be the better side they couldn’t demonstrate their superiority on the score-sheet.
After the break the game livened up, and ten minutes in Salvador Cabanas put Paraguay ahead with a clinical finish after a quick breakaway.
Gerardo Martino’s side continued to play the better football, and in the 79th minute Oscar Cardozo added their second with a well-placed shot from a difficult angle.
Minutes later Alexander Rondon failed to convert a penalty kick for Venezuela.
Venezuela struggled to find their form, but despite this, Alexander Rondon pulled a goal back for them five minutes from full-time. But the goal came much too late and Venezuela are all but eliminated from the World Cup.