Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chile Recovers Form with Victory over Peru

Second matchday of S.American qualifiers

The Chilean national team defeated its Peruvian counterpart by 2-0 on October 17 at the National Stadium in Santiago. Both teams were under pressure to obtain a positive result since the visiting team had only gotten a goalless draw against Paraguay while the Chileans had traveled to Buenos Aires where they lost 2-0 to Argentina. Chile was lucky to score after only eleven minutes of play due to a header by Humberto Suazo. Peru tried to counterattack but some good saves by local goalkeeper Claudio Bravo prevented the equalizing goal. The final result was obtained in the 54th minute after a good pass by Arturo Vidal (currently playing for Bayer Leverkusen of Germany) was finished off with a hard low shot by Matias Fernandez that sent the ball into the net. This positive result has calmed down the 60,000 fans that showed up at the stadium and the local press that expect more than average results from the national team specially after the spectacular signing of coach Marcelo Bielsa. The former Argentina coach has also become the best paid coach in South America with a yearly salary of US$1.5 million and after the match described the performance of the Chilean national team as "acceptable". Even if the team won three points for the victory, the general opinion is that the players must improve if they want to qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup that will be held in South Africa. Chile’s next matches will be on November 17 in Montevideo against Uruguay and on Nov. 21 in Santiago against Paraguay.
On Oct. 16, Argentina defeated the home team Venezuela by 2-0 , and is now the leader in the points table with 6 points. On Wednesday night at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil crushed Ecuador by 5-0, while in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion, the home team beat Uruguay by 1-0 and in La Paz, Bolivia could only draw 0-0 with Colombia.

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