Paraguay snatch 1-0 win over Chile

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Paraguay snatched a crucial 1-0 win over Chile in their World Cup 2006 qualifier in Santiago on Tuesday.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Paraguay snatched a crucial 1-0 win over Chile in their World Cup 2006 qualifier in Santiago on Tuesday. Carlos Paredes scored the only goal on the half hour mark to help lift Paraguay to the top of South American standings with nine points after four games. Having been beaten by Uruguay in their previous qualifier, Chile were looking to get back on track against Paraguay in front of 60,000 fans in the Nacional Stadium in Santiago. The visitors came closest in a frantic start to the game, with Carlos Bonet's acrobatic volley spectacularly tipped over by Chile stopper Nelson Tapia. Chile launched an immediate riposte, as Chievo striker Maurico Pinilla sent a bullet header whistling over the Paraguay cross bar. But it was Aribal Puiz's side who took the lead after half an hour, when Roque Santa Cruz touched back Francisco Arce's cross into the path of Carlos Paredes. The midfielder stroked a left footed shot past Tapia - replays showing that the goalkeeper was wrong footed by a deflection off Rafael Olarra. Chile pressed hard for an equaliser after the restart, but once again Pinilla was guilty of missing the target. There was plenty of power on the forward's header - but Milovan Mirosevic's teasing cross deserved a better finish. Chile's frustration at their failure to unlock a resolute Paraguay defence began to show - Mirosevic and Jose Cardozo nearly coming to blows following a tussle near the halfway line. Despite their neat passing and movement, Juvenal Olmos' side were generally restricted to long range efforts - Rodrigo Perez with one such speculative attempt. The win lifts Paraguay into top spot in the South American qualifying table having played four games - one more than second-placed Brazil. South American qualifying group comprises Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia. The top four teams qualify automatically for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. The fifth-place team faces a playoff with a team from a different region. Brazil play Uruguay in Coritiba on Wednesday. (AP)