As a Liverpool fan I tend to see the best in Luis Suarez and forgive him for his indiscretions. There is no doubt he has been vilified by a calumniatory, English press but he doesn’t do himself any favours.
Last night, again, he was attracting headlines for the wrong reasons. Playing for Uruguay against Chile in a World Cup qualifier, Suarez responded to defender Gonzalo Jara’s attentions by jabbing him on the chin. Granted, it wasn’t a punch worthy of the ring but it should have deserved a red card.
The decision did not change the match as Chile battled to a deserved 2 – 0 victory over an unsteady Uruguay. Esteban Paredes opened the scoring in the 11th minute after some awful Uruguayan defending. Both Matias Aguirregaray and Alvaro Pereiraha had chances to clear the danger but only proceeded to gift Paredes his chance 5 yards out.
Eduardo Vargas sealed the win with 12 minutes remaining after some more shambolic play at the back by Uruguay. Matias Fernandez found Mauricio Isla with a defence splitting ball, Isla’s shot was then saved by Fernando Muslera but Vargas snatched to score while the defenders floundered.
After last week’s home draw against Paraguay, “La Celeste” are fumbling at a vital point in qualification. The Copa America holders will have to reverse their slide down the table if they want to repeat their impressive display in South Africa. Similarly, Chile have been erratic and find themselves in a 4/5th place battle after a strong start to their qualification campaign.
In Puerto Ordaz. The in-form Colombians tumbled to a surprise defeat against Venezuela. Salomon Rondon grabbed an early lead in the 13th minute and that was enough to win the match. Falcoa had some late chances and was denied an equaliser by the woodwork.
Despite the hiccup, Colombia are still in a good position for qualification while Venezuela need to secure a few more wins to ensure attendance at their first ever World Cup.
P W D L Pts
Argentina 11 7 3 1 24
Ecuador 10 6 2 2 20
Colombia 10 6 1 3 19
Chile 11 5 0 6 15
Venezuela 11 4 3 4 15
Uruguay 11 3 4 4 13
Peru 10 3 2 5 11
Bolivia 11 2 3 6 9
Paraguay 11 2 2 7 8
Argentina continue to top the CONMEBOL table after their 2-1 away win against Chile last night.
Chile fell asleep for 4 minutes in the first half and allowed Messi and Higuain to claim a quick brace in 28 and 31 minutes. Argentina then needed only to hang on to claim 3 points but they did concede a late Gutierrez consolation.
In Puerto La Cruz, Ecuador recorded a fine away draw against Venezuela to bolster their qualification chances.
“La Vinotintos” took the lead, with what must have been the goal of the night through Juan Arango. The veteran captain collected the ball 30 yards from goal then unleashed an unstoppable howitzer past the flailing Dominguez.
Ecuador rallied and restored parity 15 minutes later through Segundo Castillo when he struck low from inside the box. Although both teams had chances to win it a draw was probably a fair result in an open and entertaining game
In Asuncion, Pablo Aguilar claimed the only goal of the night to win the bottom of the table clash against Peru. Barring a small miracle neither team should be in contention for the qualification spots.
The surprise of the night was in La Paz where Bolivia hammered Uruguay 4 -1. Carlos Saucedo grabbed a hat-trick to condemn Uruguay to their second defeat in five days. Luis Suarez got one back near the end.
Concern must be growing for” La Celeste” as they have managed to take only one point form three games, two of which were at home.
BOLIVIA 4 – 1 URUGUAY
PARAGUAY 1 – 0 PERU
VENEZUELA 1 -1 ECUADOR
CHILE 1 – 2 ARGENTINA
The COMNEBOL table seems to splitting in 3 parts with Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia moving away slightly form the pack. That being said two positive results can alter qualification chances dramatically and no team is in the clear yet.
Week 9 saw Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia win and move away from the pack. The qualifying group has now split into 3 parts with Chile and Uruguay losing form in the last 3 games.
Messi was at his imperial best against Uruguay. It has often been touted that little Leo does not perform for his country and cannot replicate his Barcelona form. This qualifying campaign, and the recent Brazil friendly largely dispels this myth.
His second goal was particularly impressive. It wasn’t as spectacular as his recent free-kick against Real Madrid but it was the apparent simplicity and ease in his execution to slip the ball low past the keeper.
BOLIVIA 1 (Chumacero 51′) PERU 1 (Marion0 21′)
COLOMBIA 2 (Falcoa 52′, 90′) PARAGUAY 0
ECUADOR 3 (Caicedo 33′,56′, Castillo 93′) CHILE (Paredes OG 25′)
ARGENTINA 3 (Messi 66′,80′ Aguero 75′) URUGUAY 0
In Quito, Ecuador finally broke down a stubborn Chile after initially going behind. A couple of rash challenges had Chile eventually go down to 9 men and Ecuador took full advantage. Their tormentor in chief was Felipe Caicedo who continued his impressive international form and scored his 3rd and 4th goals in 3 games.
Man of the moment Radamel Falcao scored a brace against bottom dwelling Paraguay while in La Paz, Bolivia and Peru recorded 1-1 draw helping neither of their qualification chances.
My best 11 of last Friday’s games:
Such is the format of South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying that one double header of matches can drastically change the various team standings. While Bolivia,Peru and Paraguay look to be increasingly separated from the pack all the other teams still have realistic chances of qualification. Especially with 5 possible berths for Brazil up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly Argentina lead the pack but only by a solitary point over Ecuador and a resurgent Colombia.
|QUALIFYING STAGE TABLE|
|FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2012|
|20:00 GMT||Bolivia||v||Peru||Qualifying Stage||Hernando Siles|
|20:30 GMT||Colombia||v||Paraguay||Qualifying Stage||Roberto Meléndez|
|21:00 GMT||Ecuador||v||Chile||Qualifying Stage||Atahualpa|
|00:00 GMT||Argentina||v||Uruguay||Qualifying Stage||Mundialista Mendoza|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2012|
|20:00 GMT||Bolivia||v||Uruguay||Qualifying Stage||Hernando Siles|
|22:00 GMT||Paraguay||v||Peru||Qualifying Stage||Defensores del Chaco|
|22:00 GMT||Venezuela||v||Ecuador||Qualifying Stage||General Anzoátegui|
|00:05 GMT||Chile||v||Argentina||Qualifying Stage||Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez|
Uruguay are coming off a 4- o hiding against Colombia on Friday and have slipped to 4rth in the CONMEBOL table. A combination of the relentless heat, a bad start and some iffy goal keeping contributed to their dramatic collapse. Anything less than a win for Oscar Taberez’s team would be disastrous.
“That goal calmed their nerves and put us as the away team into a difficult position,” said Tabarez after the game.
“We were always chasing the game throughout after that, though, I admit it is a shocking and disappointing result.”
The defeat in Barranquilla follows a poor Olympics in London but was generally surprising considering “La Celeste’s” fine performances in the last World Cup and Copa America.
They should set-up with an attacking front 3 of Forlan, Cavani and Suarez and be expected to take the offensive initiative.
Ecuador struggled to overcome a stubborn Bolivia on Friday and in the end needed a dubious penalty to save their blushes. Realistically a draw would be a fine result for “El Tri” especially as Uruguay will be hurting after their thumping against Colombia.
Jeffersom Montero pulled up with a hamstring injury on Friday and should be replaced by Michael Arroyo of Barcelona while Caicedo should start after making an impression and scoring a goal versus Bolivia.
Christain “chuco” Benitez will come back after suspension and maybe expected to plow a lone furrow up-front against Uruguay, depending on Reinalda Rueda’s attacking pretensions.
I doubt Uruguay will be as defensive as Bolivia