Santiago - Real Madrid star James Rodriguez scored a second
half equaliser as Colombia snatched a precious point in a 1-1 draw with mighty
Chile in their South American World Cup qualifying clash on Thursday.
Rodriguez, returning to international duty after a thigh
injury which kept him out of Colombia's opening two qualifiers last month,
pounced in the 68th minute to silence the Santiago crowd after Arturo Vidal had
put Chile ahead.
Rodriguez's goal came after a determined fightback from the
Colombians, anxious to get a result after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in
their previous qualifier.
The draw frustrated Chile however, who dominated possession
for long periods but were unable to carve out many clear chances in the face of
some disciplined Colombian defence.
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Alexis Sanchez was the first to get a shot on goal for Chile
after only two minutes, drawing a fine save from Arsenal team-mate David Ospina
in the Colombian goal with a dipping shot.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was mostly unoccupied for the
first half, but needed to be alert to turn over Dani Torres's angled shot
midway through the half.
The breakthrough came for Chile on the stroke of half-time.
Matias Fernandez curled a wicked freekick into the area and
the battling Vidal held off the challenge of the Colombian defence to direct
his header past Ospina.
Colombia's more adventurous approach after the break was
rewarded however when a counter-attack saw a loose ball fall to Rodriguez who
turned and drilled a low shot past Bravo for the equaliser.
Colombia face Argentina at home next Tuesday in Barranquilla
while Chile travel to Montevideo to meet Uruguay.
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