Chile breach Swiss defence
Mark Gonzalez ended 10-man Switzerland's record run without conceding at the World Cup to put Chile on the brink of the last 16.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 21/06/10 5:34pm
Mark Gonzalez ended 10-man Switzerland's record run without conceding at the World Cup to put Chile on the brink of the last 16 with victory at Port Elizabeth in Group G.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's side, who stunned Spain 1-0 in their opening game, set a new mark for defensive resilience during the second half of their Group H clash having previously kept four clean sheets in Germany 2006, only to concede the only goal of the game shortly after.
Former Liverpool winger Gonzalez headed home at the far post in the 75th minute after fellow substitute Esteban Paredes had broken the offside trap and showed good composure to go around goalkeeper Diego Benaglio before crossing to his team-mate.
The match was overshadowed by the performance of referee Khalil Al-Ghamdi, with the Saudi Arabia official dishing out yellow cards for inexplicable reasons and dismissing Valon Behrami with just 30 minutes gone after nothing more than a minor tussle.
Al-Ghamdi looked to clamp down with just over 60 seconds on the clock as he booked Humberto Suazo for leaving his foot high on Stephane Grichting, while Blaise Nkufo was also shown a yellow card in the opening exchanges.
Switzerland goalkeeper Benaglio was called into action twice in quick succession in the early stages of the first half as he beat away Arturo Vidal's curling shot from the left before scrambling to his feet to parry Carlos Carmona's follow-up.
Carmona was next into the book after a reckless challenge on Behrami which will rule him out of final group game against Spain, before Waldo Ponce added to the names in the Saudi Arabian official's notebook before the 25-minute mark.
Reto Ziegler fired a free-kick into the Chile box but Grichting's glanced header flew well wide of the target in Switzerland's first real attack of note, before Claudio Bravo was forced to race from his line after a short backpass to deny the on-rushing Nkufo.
The red card which had been waiting to happen arrived on the half-hour mark as Behrami was dismissed after fending off the attentions of first Jean Beausejour and then Vidal with his arm, with both Chile men making the most of minimal contact.
Suazo had a chance to test Benaglio as half-time approached but his header from six yards out after Beausejour's superb whipped cross flew high over the crossbar, while Sanchez could only find the goalkeeper's hands after another great ball in from the left.
Hitzfeld opted to stiffen up his side shortly before the break as captain Alexander Frei was sacrificed with Tranquillo Barnetta brought on in his place, with the skipper having no problem with his coach's decision.
Al-Ghamdi continued his zero-tolerance approach after the break with Barnetta booked as he pulled back Beausejour, with Chile thinking they had taken the lead from the resulting free-kick.
The ball was cleverly rolled to Alexis Sanchez on the edge of the box and his low drilled effort deflected home beyond Benaglio, only for his exuberant celebrations to be cut short with the flag raised due to three Chile players being offside.
Sanchez then seized on an error from Grichting in the 55th minute to burst into the box but Benaglio was swiftly off his line to smother the danger, before half-time substitute Gonzalez headed wide when well placed following a corner.
The referee's card-happy antics continued, with Gokhan Inler, Gary Medel and Matias Fernandez all ending up in the book, with the latter's caution particularly mystifying but also costly as he will now miss the group finale with Spain.
Marcelo Bielsa's men finally breached the meanest defence in the history of the World Cup as Paredes broke the offside trap and kept his cool to reach the byline and then pick out Gonzalez at the back post for a simple header.
Paredes had two chances to seal the victory in the closing stages but lost his composure in front of goal when it mattered most as he blazed over the bar before pulling another chance wide of the near post.Chile were almost made to pay for their profligacy in the closing moments as Switzerland finally carved out an opportunity with some neat attacking play only for Eren Derdiyok to side-foot wide from 12 yards out with the goal at his mercy.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||0|
|8||Shots off Target||5|
|Portugal||Team Statistics||North Korea|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|11||Shots on Target||3|
|15||Shots off Target||11|