CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying Roundup: Matias Fernandez inspires Chile to a late win in Venezuela

The Sporting Lisbon midfielder was the best player on the pitch in Puerto la Cruz and his 85th minute strike helped move Claudio Borghi's side to the top of the group.
3-1 Paraguay

Paraguay succumbed to the altitude of La Paz as it was defeated 3-1 by Bolivia with two strikes from Pablo Escobar providing the difference.

The pitch at the Hernando Siles stadium was in terrible condition but that did not stop Gustavo Quinteros' side from taking the lead after just 10 minutes. Alcides Pena's volley from inside the box seemed destined to go closer to the corner flag it took a wicked deflection off of Adalberto Ramon and Justo Villar was unable to keep it out.

The game was fairly evenly contested but as it wore on the visitors became increasingly lethargic and Escobar made the most of it in the closing stages of the game. Gualberto Mojica missed a penalty for the home side but with 70 minutes on the clock Escobar picked the ball up on the left before dribbling into the box and unleashing a terrific strike that beat Villar. Just 10 minutes later he met Marcelo Martin's cross at the back post to stab in the game's third goal.

Paraguay pulled one back through Cristian Riveros who drilled the ball into the back of the net in the dying stages but it was not enough to stop Bolivia from moving above the team to seventh place on goal difference. However, La Verde could face disciplinary action for having coach Quinteros on the touchline despite being sent off in the previous fixture against Chile.

Venezuela 0-2

Chile left it late to secure a valuable 2-0 victory over Venezuela in Puerto la Cruz that sent it to the top of the group.

The Vinotinto began by pressing Chile high up the pitch from the early stage and forced the team deep into its own half. The home crowd soon roared triumphantly when Grenddy Perozo nodded in from a free kick only to see the assistant referee raise his flag and rule the goal out for offside. Chile soon got a foothold in the game and eked out chances to shoot through Marcelo Diaz, Matias Fernandez and Eugenio Mena who were all unable to trouble Renny Vega. Juan Arango's ferocious strike that whistled past the post was Venezuela's best chance shortly before the break.

The second half offered more of the same but Humberto Suazo came closest of anyone to breaking the deadlock when he rattled the post after working some space in the area. Claudio Borghi's men continued to create the better chances with Venezuela finding attacking opportunities limited as possession remained elusive. With 15 minutes remaining Fernandez's deflected cross almost caught Vega out and the keeper was forced to claw the ball of the line. After hitting the post moments later, Fernandez finally found net with just five minutes remaining after pouncing on the ball in the area and striking across goal. There was still time for the visitors to add another after some excellent interplay between Sebastian Pinto and Charles Aranguiz ended with a cutback for the Universidad de Chile midfielder to slide in from the edge of the six-yard box.

The win puts Chile two points clear of Argentina at the top of the group but the Albiceleste hold a game in hand. The Vinotinto will be disappointed to have surrendered the game so late on and could drop out of the top four depending on the result between Ecuador and Colombia.