FIFA World Cup qualifiers (CONMEBOL): Late goals as Paraguay beat Colombia
Two late errors by Colombia national football team goalkeeper David Ospina, combined with a number of missed chances, allowed Paraguay national football team to keep hopes alive for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Chile beat Equador, Venezuela drew Uruguay in other important CONMEBOL group qualifying matches.football Updated: Oct 06, 2017 09:31 IST
Two goals in the last three minutes gave Paraguay national football team a 2-1 win over Colombia on Thursday and ensured both teams are still in contention from CONMEBOL for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia ahead of next week’s final qualifying matches.
Colombia national football team was on top throughout and Radamel Falcao’s 78th minute goal appeared to have cemented their place in Russia.
However, two late errors by Colombian keeper David Ospina, combined with a number of missed chances by the home side, allowed Paraguay to keep their own hopes alive.
Ospina spilled the ball from a hopeful punt with two minutes remaining, allowing Oscar Cardozo to latch on to the loose ball and fire home.
A minute into injury time the keeper failed to hold a low drive and Antonio Sanabria slotted home to give the visitors three points.
The result means Colombia drop to fourth in the 10-team group, while Paraguay are in seventh. The top four teams qualify automatically for Russia and the fifth-placed side take on New Zealand in a play-off.
Leaders Brazil (38) have already qualified and second-placed Uruguay (28) need just a point to join them.
Two points then separate third-placed Chile (26) to Paraguay in seventh ahead of the final round of matches on Oct. 10.
Paraguay take on Venezuela at home, Brazil play Chile in Sao Paulo while two-time world champions Uruguay host Bolivia.
Sixth-placed Argentina, who drew 0-0 with Peru in Buenos Aires, go to Ecuador, while Peru, who occupy the playoff spot, will aim to reach the finals for the first time since 1982 when they take on Colombia.
Chile beat Ecuador 2-1
Chile survived a late scare to beat Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday and keep alive their hopes of reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia as they moved into third-place in CONMEBOL South American qualifying group.
Copa America champions Chile have perhaps the toughest task in their final match, against Brazil in Sao Paulo. The five-times world champions have never lost a World Cup qualifier at home.
Chile have failed to sparkle this year, losing three of their last four qualifiers before Thursday.
However, Tigres striker Eduardo Vargas helped them back to their winning ways with a goal after 22 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez stole the ball on the edge of the box and fed midfielder Jorge Valdivia and his pass left Vargas in space 12 yards out to crash the ball past keeper Maximo Banguera.
Romario Ibarra equalised for Ecuador with eight minutes remaining but Sanchez was on hand three minutes later when Banguera could only parry a shot on the edge of the six-yard box.
Sanchez then had the simplest of tasks slipping the ball home for the winner.
Uruguay kept waiting
Uruguay national football team failed to break down Venezuela in a 0-0 draw on Thursday and were left waiting to bag what looked a certain place at the 2018 World Cup finals.
The Uruguayans, second in the South American group behind already qualified Brazil (38), are on 28 points and will hope to secure their berth at the Russia finals when they host Bolivia on Tuesday.
Uruguay have a goal difference of +10 as opposed to +1 for both Peru and Argentina, who have 25 points after a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires and could potentially join them locked on 28 points after next week’s matches.
If Uruguay were to lose heavily to Bolivia and Argentina, who travel to Ecuador, and Peru, at home to Colombia, were to rack up big wins, they could fall out of the reckoning.
Colombia and Chile, both with 26 points, hold the other two automatic qualifying berths with Peru in the fifth-place playoff spot having scored more goals than Argentina.
Semi-finalists in South Africa in 2010, Uruguay expect to take one of four automatic berths and go into a third successive finals.
It will be the first time in five qualifying campaigns this century that Uruguay have avoided an inter-confederation playoff. They have reached three finals via two-legged playoffs since 2002, but missed out on Germany 2006 after losing to Australia.