THE DAY REPLAYED – Victories for Chile and Uruguay on Matchday 6 of the South American qualifying competition for Brazil 2014 took them to first and second in the table respectively, ahead of Argentina, who were not in action. FIFA.com has the news on those important wins and two timely triumphs for Bolivia and Ecuador.
One of the best games of the competition so far served up six goals and a missed penalty, with the result in doubt right till the end. Dominant in the first half, La Celeste seemed to be on course for a comfortable win when Maxi Pereira put them 2-0 ahead on the half-hour mark. Godin’s own goal gave the visitors renewed hope, and they levelled things up just after the break through the gutsy Guerrero. Uruguay then enduring further frustration when keeper Diego Penny denied Diego Forlan from the penalty spot. Charrúa coach Oscar Tabarez pulled the right strings with his substitutions, however, as Uruguay got back to winning ways following the draw with Venezuela and extended their undefeated run to 17 games.
Beaten heavily in their first two away games, Chile recorded their second straight win on the road when they downed Venezuela 2-0 in Puerto la Cruz on Saturday, a result that took them top of the group. Matias Fernandez and Charles Aranguiz scored late on for La Roja, the only side in the competition to collect all six points from their two matches this month, while La Vinotinto conceded their first goals on home soil in 265 minutes.
Bolivia were the weekend’s most notable victors, overcoming Paraguay 3-1 in La Paz to end a sequence of six world finals qualifiers without a win. Pablo Escobar struck twice for the hosts and Alcides Pena grabbed the other to give the Bolivians three points for the first time since overcoming Brazil 2-1 in October 2009 in the penultimate qualifying match for South Africa 2010. La Albirroja have now lost all three of their away matches.
In the final encounter of the weekend, Ecuador earned the narrowest of triumphs over Colombia. Cristian Chucho Benitez’s solitary header allowed El Tricolor to end a three-match winless run against Los Cafeteros in qualifiers, move into the direct qualification places, and maintain their perfect record in Quito, where they have won all three of their games to date without conceding a goal.
Player of the day
Pablo Escobar (BOL)
Born in Paraguay but now a naturalised Bolivian, the striker enjoyed an unforgettable day, scoring two of the three goals that gave his side their first victory of the competition. Having failed to score in his 14 previous FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances, the 33-year-old front man apologised to the Albirrojo fans after completing his brace.
348 - The number of minutes that Ecuador had gone since their previous goal against Colombia in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match, scored by Franklin Salas in the 64th minute of their 2-1 defeat of Los Cafeteros in June 2004. Of their three meetings between that Germany 2006 qualifier and Sunday’s win, El Tricolor drew one and lost two.
What they said
“We didn’t get anything back for the work we put in, but that happens sometimes. We need the national side to improve and win games because we’re well off the pace at the moment. I’m not going to resign, though. I’m not cowardly enough to do that,” Paraguay coach Francisco Arce ponders his side’s position after defeat in La Paz.