Chile beat Venezuela 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Chile defeated Venezuela 1-0 in a 2006 World Cup elimination play on Tuesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Chile defeated Venezuela 1-0 in a 2006 World Cup elimination play on Tuesday. Mauricio Pinilla scored the winning goal in the 84th minute as Chile won its second straight qualifier and moved into second place in the 10-team group ahead of Paraguay and Brazil. In their last game, the Chileans fell 2-0 to Bolivia while Venezuela, considered for years to be South America's soccer doormat, defeated Uruguay 3-0 - and the Venezuelans were hoping to have a home ground advantage in Tuesday's match. The match was played before 25-thousand fans at Pueblo Nuevo Stadium in the western city of San Cristobal in Venezuela, and the hosts, who have won three straight, could have moved ahead of Brazil with a draw. For most of the game, which was played on a muddy field that made passing difficult, Chile held off a strong Venezuelan offense led by midfielder Juan Arango. Venezuela had a few good chances in the first half to keep its winning streak alive. But none of the attempts at goal came good and at half-time it was 0-0. The second half opened with more attacks at goal by Venezuela. Chilean goalkeeper Nelson Tapias deflected a 25-metre blast by Arango in the 57th minute. Seconds later, Venezuela missed its best scoring opportunity as Arango pegged the right-hand post. Chile's response was to try to break through, but found it hard to penetrate the Venezuelan defence and lacked shots on goal - until late in the match. Mauricio Pinilla scored the winning goal for Chile in the 84th minute. Pinilla placed the ball in the lower left-hand corner, far beyond the reach of Venezuela's Gilberto Angelucci, to net the game's only goal. Chile now has 10 points from six matches, trailing only Argentina, which has 11 points from five matches. Paraguay, which lost to Bolivia 2-1 earlier Tuesday, is next with 10 points, followed by Brazil and Venezuela with nine points each. (AP)

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