Chile draws with Australia to reach Confed Cup semifinals
MOSCOW, June 26: Martin Rodriguez salvaged a draw Sunday for Chile against a tenacious Australian side to ensure his team qualified for the Confederations Cup semifinals.
The Australians took the lead in the 42nd minute when James Troisi delicately chipped the ball in from a pass from Robbie Kruse, and then went in pursuit of a second goal that could have seen them qualify at Chile’s expense.
Roared on by thousands of traveling fans, Chile held on and hit back in the 67th when Eduardo Vargas flicked the ball on for substitute Rodriguez to hit it past goalkeeper Maty Ryan.
Chile had chances to score early on, but were held back by wasteful finishing and Ryan’s solid performance in the Australian goal.
Ryan made a double save in the eighth minute, first parrying Arturo Vidal’s fierce shot, then scooping up Eduardo Vargas’ weak effort on the rebound.
Alexis Sanchez appealed for a penalty in the 26th when he went down in the penalty area following Mark Milligan’s desperate lunge, but the video review system said no foul.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, playing for the first time in two months due to a calf injury, showed no signs of rust, showing quick reactions to block Massimo Luongo’s 36th-minute effort at the near post.
Troisi’s 42nd-minute goal put the pressure on Chile, which responded well and would have equalized through Vidal just before the break, but for Dylan McGowan’s last-ditch block.
Tim Cahill — becoming the first Australian outfield player to win 100 caps — tested Bravo after the break, and Ryan denied Sanchez at the other end soon after.
Rodriguez’s leveler sapped Australia’s confidence, and the Chileans could have made it 2-1 in the 70th when Ryan was caught out of position in response to the threat of Alexis Sanchez out wide. The Arsenal forward then swung in a cross which Vargas headed narrowly wide of the unguarded goal.
Australia continued to push forward, going close once again with a mishit effort from Jamie MacLaren in front of goal, and again in added time when Gonzalo Jara blocked Kruse’s shot.
South American champion Chile qualifies second in Group B behind Germany to set a semifinal meeting with Portugal in Kazan. Australia is eliminated.-AP