Following disappointing defeats to Paraguay and Bolivia in their last two qualifiers, Chile bounced back in strong fashion by edging Ecuador, 2-1, in Santiago.
Alexis Sanchez played the hero on Thursday evening, scoring a winning goal in the 85th minute. The winner came a minute after Ecuador leveled the score at 1-1. Eduardo Vargas’ right-footed finish in the 22nd minute opened the scoring for Chile. Romario Ibarra leveled the score in the 84th minute from his own right-footed finish, before Sanchez pounced on a rebound for his seventh goal of qualifying. Both teams had four shots on goal, and Chile jumped to third in the table with the win.
Elsewhere, Paraguay pulled the upset against Colombia while Argentina and Peru shared the points in a scoreless draw. Bolivia held Brazil to a scoreless draw at home, while Uruguay had to settle for a point against Venezuela. Here is a look back at Matchday 14 in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying and the updated standings:
LATE PAIR OF GOALS SNATCH VICTORY FOR PARAGUAY
Paraguay remained alive in the fight for qualification, defeating Colombia, 2-1, in Barranquilla.
After going down 1-0 in the 79th minute via a Radamel Falcao opener, Paraguay dug deep and scored two goals in the final five minutes. Oscar Cardozo drew the visitors level in the 89th minute following a set piece situation. Antonio Sarabria’s right-footed finish in the 92nd minute completed the comeback for Paraguay who sit a point away from the playoff place. Paraguay keeper Antony Silva made seven saves in the win.
Colombia drops to fourth place, while the visitors are in seventh.
ARGENTINA FRUSTRATED AGAIN IN HOME SCORELESS DRAW VS. PERU
Argentina’s hopes of making it to the 2018 World Cup took a huge hit in a 0-0 tie with Peru.
The hosts had the bulk of the possession and efforts towards goal, but could not break down a stubborn Pedro Gallese. Gallese made six saves in the clean sheet, while Leo Messi also rattled the post. Messi failed to record a shot on goal, while Peru’s only effort on goal came in stoppage time.
Argentina has drawn three consecutive qualifiers, and dropped to sixth in the standings. Peru is in fifth, good enough for the playoff place but will need to avoid defeat vs. Colombia on Oct. 10th to hold that spot.
URUGUAY CANNOT BREAK DOWN VENEZUELA, SETTLES FOR DRAW
Another country who was looking to wrap up their place for next year’s World Cup was also frustrated on the road.
Uruguay had to settle for a point in San Cristobal against already-eliminated Venezuela. Both sides had three shots on goal, with both Fernando Muslera and Wuilker Farinez earning clean sheets. Edinson Cavani only had one of the efforts on goal, in a quiet performance.
Uruguay knows a point in their final match vs. Bolivia should earn them qualification to Russia. Venezuela is in last place with nine points.
BOLIVIA HOLDS BRAZIL SCORELESS AT HOME
Throughout qualification, Brazil has been rolling through the competition, scoring in every match so far. That changed on Thursday as the visitors were held scoreless against Bolivia in a 0-0 draw on the road.
It was an incredible performance by Bolivian keeper Carlos Lampe who made 13 saves in the clean sheet. Neymar was kept out six times by the 30-year-old keeper, who stood on his head for 90+ minutes. Bolivia only had one shot on goal, but were able to frustrate the visitors who had already qualified for Russia in March.
Here is the schedule for the final day of CONEMBOL World Cup Qualifying action:
Tuesday October 10th
Paraguay vs. Venezuela – 7:30 P.M. EST
Brazil vs. Chile – 7:30 P.M. EST
Ecuador vs. Argentina – 7:30 P.M. EST
Peru vs. Colombia – 7:30 P.M. EST
Uruguay vs. Bolovia – 7:30 P.M. EST
1. Brazil (38 points | 11-1-5 | 38 Goals For | 11 Goals Against)
2. Uruguay (28 points | 8-5-4 | 28 Goals For | 18 Goals Against)
3. Chile (26 points | 8-7-2 | 26 Goals For | 24 Goals Against)
4. Colombia (26 points |7-5-5 | 20 Goals For | 18 Goals Against)
5. Peru (25 points |7-6-4 | 26 Goals For | 25 Goals Against)
6. Argentina (25 points | 6-4-7 | 16 Goals For | 25 Goals Against)
7. Paraguay (24 points | 7-7-3 | 19 Goals For | 24 Goals Against)
8. Ecuador (20 points | 6-9-2| 25 Goals For | 26 Goals Against)
9. Bolivia (14 points | 4-11-2 | 14 Goals For | 34 Goals Against)
10. Venezuela (9 points | 1-10-6 | 18 Goals For | 35 Goals Against)