Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chile Fights Back to Defeat Ecuador

Amazing 3-2 win in Copa America

Chile played its first match of the 2007 "Copa America" on June 28 at the Cachamay Stadium in Puerto Ordaz. There had been a lot of uncertainty as to how the Chilean team would perform in its debut since due to the frequent tropical rainstorms it had been unable to train for the two previous days. This may have been the reason why Ecuador controlled the first half and opened up the score board in the 16th minute with a fast counterattack that was finished off by Antonio Valencia. However Chile struck back only 4 minutes later after a set of passes between captain Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras,Brazil) and Humberto Suazo ended up with the latter player sending a high long range shot into Ecuador’s net. Chile was still showing a lot of distractions in its defense that was capitalized by Ecuador in the 22nd minute as Benitez headed in a loose ball in the area that Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was unable able to catch. Ten minutes before the end of the first half Ecuador could have increased its lead as a striker's shot rebounded against the left post.
At the start of the second half Chile´s Coach Nelson Acosta (whose job is on the line at this tournament) made some correct replacements and brought on midfielder Miguel Riffo and striker Juan Lorca for Matias Fernandez and Reinaldo Navia respectively. Also the goalkeeper Claudio Bravo improved his play and prevented Ecuador from scoring twice near the 60th minute. Acosta would make yet another crucial move in the 65th minute as he brought on attacking midfielder Carlos Villanueva and from then on Chile became another team and took control of play with its short ground level passing. In the 79th minute a good combination of passes ended with Suazo equalizing again with a close range shot in the Ecuador area. But the best was yet to come as in the 85th minute Valdivia was brought down just outside the Ecuador area and it was Carlos Villanueva that became the hero of the night as he scored the winning goal with a precise left footed free kick. As the match ended the crowd of 40,000 fans applauded Chile for its fighting spirit and hopefully the team will continue playing at this level since next Sunday its rival will be none other than Brazil.

Starting Lineups :

Chile (3) : Claudio Bravo (gk), Alvaro Ormeño, Pablo Contreras, Jorge Vargas, Mark González - Arturo Sanhueza, Rodrigo Meléndez (Carlos Villanueva, 73), Jorge Valdivia, Matías Fernández , Reinaldo Navia Humberto Suazo. Coach: Nelson Acosta.
Ecuador (2) : Cristian Mora (gk), Ulises de la Cruz, Iván Hurtado, Giovanni Espinoza, Oscar Bagui , Segundo Castillo, Edwin Tenorio, Antonio Valencia, Edison Méndez - Cristian Benítez , Carlos Tenorio. Coach : Luis Fernando Suarez.

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