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Chile on the Brink of World Cup Qualification

Chile on the Brink of World Cup Qualification
February 01
09:40 2013

La Rojita kept their dreams of qualifying for the Under 20 World Cup after defeating Colombia 1-0 in their penultimate game of the hexagonal phase of the Sudamericano Sub 20 tournament.

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA — It wouldn’t be a match involving Chile in this tournament without a red card and in the 33rd minute Claudio Baeza collected the team’s eighth after he lashed out at his direct opponent with an elbow.

Eight minutes later Colombia had their best chance of the half when Miguel Borja’s long range free kick forced a spectacular save from Chilean goalkeeper, Dario Melo. Moments later Chile thought they had taken the lead themselves from a free kick when the ball appeared to cross the line before bouncing out again. Despite their protestations the goal was not awarded.

However on the stroke of half time they did take the lead as leading scorer Nicolás Castillo stroked home a penalty after Colombian forward Cristián Palomeque was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.

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Nicolás Castillo starred once again. Photo: ANFP

Twelve minutes into the second half Borja had another chance to open the scoring for Colombia but once again he was denied by Diego Melo, whose outstretched leg diverted the striker’s effort. In the 65th minute the Colombians themselves were reduced to ten men after Balanta Deivy was issued a straight red card for a challenge on Sebastián Martinez.

Five minutes goal scorer Castillo had a chance to put the game beyond doubt but was denied by Colombian goalkeeper Cristián Bonilla.

The win saw La Rojita move to six points. They will require a win or a draw in their last match against Peru on Sunday to ensure that they progress to the Under 20 World Cup in Turkey.

Once again, coach Mario Salas will be watching from the stands. The coach was thrown out during Chile’s clash with Uruguay and was suspended for two matches.

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Neil Zimmerman is an Australian who became a huge fan of Chilean football after a visit in 2006 and is the editor of Viva La Roja Mierda, an English-based blog about this subject. Neil’s main interests are sports and architecture and is a practising architect in Australia.
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