Paraguay ease past Slovakia to put next phase in sight

Paraguay are in sight of the second phase of the World Cup after goals from Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros gave them victory against Slovakia in Group F.

It was just the result coach Gerardo Martino was looking for after the draw with reigning world champions in their opening game.

Vera made the breakthrough in the 27th minute after a spell of sustained pressure at the Free State Stadium.

Paraguay then squandered a number of good chances to extend their advantage before Riveros added a second with five minutes to go.

It is Slovakia's first appearance in the finals and they are heading for an early exit.

The team's only effort of note came in stoppage time when substitute Filip Holosko's shot was turned over the bar by goalkeeper Justo Villar.

Paraguay dictated the pace from the start and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz, who returned after a minor injury, came close to scoring twice.

He almost gave his side the lead in the third minute, his effort turned away at the post by Everton-bound goalkeeper Jan Mucha.

Then Nelson Valdez turned quickly but saw his effort go wide before play switched back down the other end. Marek Hamsik played the ball out to Jan Durica but he sent his shot over the bar.

Paraguay were having the majority of possession and Paulo Da Silva was only inches away from making contact at the back post following a free-kick by Claudio Morel.

Then Cristian Riveros drilled a shot from the edge of the area but Mucha was equal to it before Lucas Barrios was off target from an acute angle.

Slovakia again found themselves on the back foot in the 24th minute but Valdez fired wide.

Paraguay's pressure paid on the 27th minute when they made the breakthrough. Barrios released Vera and he got the better of Durica to hook the ball home.

Slovakia hit back and Kornel Salata headed over the bar from inside the area in the 37th minute.

It proved brief respite, however, with Santa Cruz almost adding a second a minute later only for Mucha to boot the ball clear.

Slovakia tried to step up the tempo at the start of the second half but Paraguay looked well in control.

Vera should have scored his second goal of the game in the 72nd minute following a swift counter attack.

However he steered a header wide in front of the posts following a cross and some good skill from Santa Cruz, who was unhappy at some of his treatment from Liverpool's Martin Skrtel.

Then substitute Aureliano Torres saw his effort take a deflection off a Slovakia defender and finish high over the bar.

Paraguay extended their advantage in the 85th minute when Da Silva played the ball into Riveros and he curled a shot into the corner.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century