Friday, June 20, 2008

Chile Fans Inspired after Victory over Venezuela

National football team in third place of 2010 W.Cup qualifiers

If the qualifying tournament for the next World Cup was to end today then Chile would be one of the four South American teams classified to play in that event. However, Chile still has to score enough points in the remaining twelve matches, (the last of which must be played in December 2009), in order to book tickets to the world’s biggest sporting event.
After defeating Bolivia four days earlier by 2-0 in the altitude and cold of La Paz, on June 19 the Chilean national team had to play in the intense tropical heat of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, against the local team. There was a full house of 40,000 spectators at the modern General Anzoategui Stadium that was inaugurated last year for the 2007 Copa America, (S.American nations tournament). The local fans were in a confident mood due to the good form shown by its national team that in the previous match drew with Uruguay in Montevideo and had also beaten Brazil two weeks ago. As the match began, a rainstorm began that made the pitch very slippery and many players had to change boots to cling to the surface. Even so Chile began to control the actions and in the 18th minute Alexis Sanchez (River Plate, Argentina) could have scored but his shot rebounded off the left post. Venezuela then reacted and leveled the play but the first half ended without any goals being scored.
In the 58th minute of the second half the local fans went into ecstasy as a free kick taken by Giancarlo Maldonado was deflected by a Chilean defender into the goal defended by Claudio Bravo. Chile struck back quickly as only four minutes later Alexis Sanchez was fouled in the area by a Venezuelan defender. It was Humberto Suazo, currently playing for Monterrey and leading goalscorer of the Mexican league that equalized by scoring the penalty.
The local fans reacted angrily by throwing beer bottles at the Chilean players and coaching staff but their spirits died down as in the 71st minute Chile scored yet again as Gonzalo Jara connected a free kick cross from the left wing taken by Marco Estrada.
It seemed that Chile´s 100th World Cup qualifying match would end in a 2-2 draw since in the 80th minute Juan Arango scored for Venezuela after a fast counterattack, but the match would have a spectacular ending. In the 92nd minute Suazo received a good pass from Sanchez and scored with a hard low shot from outside the area. After the end of the sixth round, Chile has ten points and shares third place with Colombia, while Paraguay is first still with 13 points after a surprise defeat to Bolivia by 4-2. Second is Argentina with 11 points that drew 0-0 with Brazil that is now in fifth place with 9 points. The outsiders are Uruguay with 8 points, Venezuela (7 points), Ecuador (5 points), Bolivia and Peru with 4 and 3 points respectively.

Starting Lineups:

Chile: C.Bravo, G.Medel,C.Carmona, G.Jara, R.Cereceda, J.Beausejour, I.Fuentes,M.Estrada, P.Morales,A.Sanchez,H.Suazo.

Venezuela: R.Vega,G.Chacon,L.Vielma, J.Rey,J.Hernandez,M.Mea Vitali, J.Rojas,R.Vargas,A.Rondon,J.Arango,R.Vargas.

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