Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | World Cup 2014

Argentina held by Colombia, Chile win



Colombia climbed into second place in South America's World Cup qualifying group after holding leaders Argentina 0-0 on Friday, while Chile did their chances of reaching the finals no harm with a win in Paraguay.

Colombia's goal difference puts them above Ecuador, who lost 1-0 to Peru in Lima, while Chile hold fourth spot after beating Paraguay 2-1.

Venezuela clung to fifth despite giving away a late equaliser for a 1-1 draw against Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz.

South American champions Uruguay, who had a bye for this round of matches, dropped to seventh below Peru and visit Venezuela on Tuesday in desperate need of a win.

Argentina, starting without Lionel Messi, and Colombia served up a feast of attacking football at the Monumental in Buenos Aires with chances galore early on, but two red cards before half an hour was up changed the complexion of the game.

The dismissal of Gonzalo Higuain and Cristian Zapata for kicking out at each other affected Argentina more, leaving them without a striker in red hot form who almost scored two goals while he was on the pitch.

Higuain's suspension and doubts over Messi's match fitness could mean Argentina start away to Ecuador on Tuesday without their top scorers, who have 17 goals between them.

Messi, just back from a hamstring injury and lacking match fitness, rarely looked comfortable after coming on with little more than half an hour left.

Asked whether he would play against Ecuador, the Argentina captain told reporters: "I don't know, I had gone a long time without a game. Playing at altitude is exhausting."

Messi no doubt recalled his struggle in the thin air of La Paz in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Bolivia in March and his team will have to contend with similar conditions in Quito.

FIVE-POINT LEAD

Argentina have a five-point cushion at the top of the nine-nation South American group with Colombia and Ecuador both on 20 points and Chile 18.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifiers in October will go through to the Brazil finals. The fifth-placed team, at present Venezuela with 16 points, will enter a playoff against an Asian qualifier in November for another berth.

Venezuela were four minutes away from victory over Bolivia before a mistake by goalkeeper Renny Vega at a corner allowed substitute Jhasmany Campos to head an equaliser.

The dropped points dent Venezuela's aspirations of reaching the finals for the first time but coach Cesar Farias looked on the bright side.

"To take a point in La Paz is very good and it could be the point that takes us to the World Cup," Farias told the post-match news conference.

"Up here (in La Paz) few teams take points with them. Of our direct rivals only Chile got three but the point is much better for us than for Bolivia."

Chile's victory at the Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion virtually ended Paraguay's chances of reaching Brazil.

"It's the hardest and saddest moment of our careers, because we've spent a life in the national team and to finish like this is tough," said veteran Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz.

Paraguay fans clamoured for Gerardo Pelusso, the team's second coach during the qualifiers, to be sacked.

Peru coach Sergio Markarian, on the other hand, was a happy man after his team's victory in Lima while recognising that reaching the finals is still only a dream.

"We're taking the victory calmly, today we're still out of the World Cup. This win sets us up for the fight without promising anything," Markarian said.



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
EPL refs in the spotlight this week
This week two of the English Premier League (EPL) “elite” referees will feature heavily in very...

Neil Tovey
The measure of Mashamaite
I attended the Kaizer Chiefs Awards and witnessed Tefu Mashamaite hand over his Player of the...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Who will challenge Chelsea?
Gary Neville has said the challenge for next season will be to how to stop Chelsea.

Carol Radull
I want more for Arsenal
Arsenal and Aston Villa are the only English Premier League clubs whose season haven’t ended.

Sunday Oliseh
Soccer stars, spend wisely on family
Emmanuel Adebayor has been very vocal lately in condemning his family of ingratitude.

Segun Odegbami
Three headaches for Juventus
An estimated 400 million audience around the world are glued to their television sets. I am sitting...