Friday, September 12, 2008

Frustration for Brazil, Argentina in qualifiers

BUENOS AIRES: Brazil and Argentina endured more frustration in the World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday with draws against bottom sides Bolivia and Peru respectively.

Brazil was jeered by its own fans in a goalless stalemate at home to bottom-of-the-table Bolivia, who played the last 35 minutes with 10 men.

Argentina drew its fourth successive qualifier when Peru scored with the last kick of the game in Lima to snatch a 1-1 draw.

The two-arch rivals stayed level on 13 points from eight games where they were joined by Chile, who returned from Sunday's 3-0 home defeat by Brazil to thrash Colombia 4-0 in Santiago.

Paraguay, 2-0 winner over Venezuela on Tuesday, leads the 10-team group with 17 points.

Brazil's Luiz Fabiano and Bolivia's Ronald Raldes jump for the ball during their World Cup 2010 qualifying soccer match in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. The match ended 0-0. Reuters

The top four teams qualify directly for South Africa and the fifth plays off against a team from the CONCACAF region.

Brazil's dismal performance in Rio de Janeiro put the heat back on coach Dunga, who had enjoyed some respite with the win in Chile.

As well as poor results and failure to win gold at the Olympic Games, Brazilian fans resent his safety-first tactics.

Wednesday's game in Rio de Janeiro, where the public are notoriously fickle, was seen as a gage of his team's popularity.

But with the cheapest tickets costing the equivalent of $60, the Joao Havelange stadium was half full and the reception lukewarm.

Frustrated with another lackluster display, the crowd quickly became impatient and even cheered Bolivia when they went forward.

The visitor, who conceded 16 goals in losing its previous four away games, had Ignacio Garcia sent off in the 54th minute for a foot-up challenge on Robinho, although replays showed no real contact was made.

"When we don't play well, it's normal," said Dunga, shrugging off the crowd's reaction.

Ronaldinho, taken off in the 77th minute amid more whistles, added: "The Brazilian team always has the obligation to win."

Argentina is under less pressure but there is still concern at its talent-laden team's failure to perform consistently.

Esteban Cambiasso's 84th minute goal appeared to have given them a welcome break but lowly Peru snatched a deserved point when Johan Fano slid the ball home in the fourth minute of injury time following a 70-meter run by Juan Vargas.

Peru stayed ninth with seven points.

Other teams continue to suffer ups-and-downs and Colombia, unbeaten in its first six games, slid to its second defeat in five days in Santiago.

Gonzalo Jara, Humberto Suazo, Ismael Fuentes and Matias Fernandez shared the goals for Chile who moved up to fourth, three points clear of its opponents and one ahead of Uruguay, who was held 0-0 at home by Ecuador in Montevideo.

"We didn't play well, we didn't find the key," said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez after his side failed to break down the Ecuador defence.

Ecuador moved onto nine points after its fifth qualifier without defeat.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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