Cordoba draws Ecuador's sting

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Colombia secured a valuable World Cup qualifying point on Tuesday when they held out for a goalless draw against Ecuador in Quito despite being outplayed for the entire game. The match was a near replica of Colombia's last match, when they defended for almost the whole 90 minutes away to Peru and scored from their only attack to win 1-0.

Colombia secured a valuable World Cup qualifying point on Tuesday when they held out for a goalless draw against Ecuador in Quito despite being outplayed for the entire game. The match was a near replica of Colombia's last match, when they defended for almost the whole 90 minutes away to Peru and scored from their only attack to win 1-0.

As last week, the Colombia goalkeeper, Oscar Cordoba, produced a world-class performance to keep his team in the game. Ecuador, left with seven points from six games in the South American qualifying group, were unable to convert a glut of chances into goals.

The Argentina-born striker Ariel Graziani was guilty of wasting two excellent close-range chances when he failed to control the ball in the first half, when Ecuador also had two penalty appeals ignored.

Clever Chala had the best chance in the first half when he burst through the Colombia defence only to fire into the side-netting while Cordoba made an excellent save to defy Eduaro Hurtado in the 18th minute.

The second half was an similar story, with Cordoba again producing a brilliant save at the feet of Agustin Delgado in the 76th minute. Colombia made no attempt to attack, spent most of the second-half wasting time and finished the match without a forward on the pitch.

In San Cristobal, Venezuela, Chile overcame stubborn resistance from the struggling home side with two late goals for a 2-0 victory in their qualifying match. Chile approached the game cautiously, despite never having lost to Venezuela in World Cup matches, and relied on counter-attacking through the swift running of Fabian Estay and Ivan Zamorano.

The first chance fell to Chile after five minutes, when Javier Margas unleashed a booming right-foot shot, pushed away by Gilberto Angelucci. Zamorano had a better opportunity to score after Francisco Rojas was toppled in the box in the 10th minute. But Angelucci dived to save a second consecutive penalty for Venezuela.

The home side grew in confidence after the break, and Gabriel Urdeneta gave Chile increasing problems down the left. However, Chile took the lead against the run of play in the 70th minute. Estay stroked the ball out to the substitute Hector Tapia, who drove in a fierce cross shot.

Chile signalled their intent to defend the lead by bringing on Fernando Cornejo for Estay. Venezuela only threatened once more, when Giovanni Savarese broke clear but shot over the bar. Zamorano increased Chile's lead with a diving header in injury time.

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