Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 19 News List

South American giants fail to fire

SMILING IN SANTIAGO Chile beat Argentina for the first time in a competitive match thanks to a first-half goal by striker Fabian Orellana, who scored on his debut

AGENCIES , RIO DE JANEIRO AND SANTIAGO

South American giants Brazil and Argentina failed to fire in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday, while Paraguay cemented their place at the top of the standings.

Brazil played out a scoreless draw with struggling Colombia, failing to win at home for the third straight match.

Fans booed the players off the field and loudly jeered Brazil coach Dunga, who is in danger of losing his job after another disappointing home result.

The five-time world champions also endured scoreless draws against then-last-place Bolivia last month and Argentina in June.

“When a team plays defensively like Colombia did, it’s hard to win,” Dunga said. “But we will have to find ways to break though these defensive schemes.”

Brazil remained second in the 10-team South American standings, six points behind leader Paraguay which beat Peru 1-0. Argentina and Chile share third place on 16 points.

Uruguay have 13 points, ahead of Ecuador on 12, Colombia on 11, Venezuela on 10, Bolivia on 9 and Peru with 7. The top four will automatically qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Fabian Orellana scored on his debut in Santiago to give Chile theri first win over Argentina in an official competition. Chile had previously beaten Argentina only in friendlies, the last time in 1973.

Orellana, a striker with the local Audax Italiano side, scored in the 35th minute with a shot from a cross by defender Gary Medel.

Argentina coach Alfio Basile had no complaints about his side’s defeat, saying their opponents appeared to have 15 players on the pitch.

“There are no excuses,” said Basile, under increasing pressure after a run of disappointing results. “Sometimes it’s just the case the opposition played better than you did.”

“I have never seen a performance like this from Chile, it was amazing how much running they did, they were like a machine and pressed us in every part of the pitch and didn’t let us settle,” he said.

“It seemed like there were 15 of them against 11 of us. We thought they would get tired in the second half but they kept going very well,” Basile said.

“We had a bit more possession in the second half but in general Chile dominated,” he said.

Basile said Argentina had missed mercurial playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, who was suspended.

“We missed him and without Riquelme we couldn’t play the way we always play,” Basile said.

He denied that the game had been a personal battle against Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, who was in charge of Argentina from 1998 to 2004.

“They have a great coach,” Basile said. “But for some reason the media have turned this into a confrontation.”

Bielsa praised his young Chile side, whose average age is just over 24.

“What makes me happiest is to see the pride in the players for having played so well,” he said. “It was a performance without any low points. Beating Argentina is an important step.”

In Asuncion substitute midfielder Edgar Benitez gave Paraguay a 1-0 win over Peru. Benitez scored in the 81st minute when a corner caused a scramble for the bouncing ball in the box and Oscar Cardozo deflected to Benitez to score.

Benitez joined the squad only last week for the injured Roque Santa Cruz, and replaced Jonathan Santana 20 minutes before he scored.

Venezuela defeated Ecuador 3-1 to break a four-game losing streak in qualifying.

Isaac Mina put Ecuador ahead in the 11th minute, but as the second half began Venezuela’s attack improved.

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