Without a win since the second round of the World Cup’s South American qualifiers, Paraguay gave Colombia work on Sunday at the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, and trusted that it could end their winning streak, but conceded a draw for 1 to 1 for visitors. The score of the direct confrontation, still valid for the sixth round, was opened by Sanabria, after a beautiful move by ex-Corinthian Ángel Romero, and Cuadrado tied with a penalty.
The result maintains the distance of two points between the two selections. Colombia has ten points and is in fifth place, a position that leads to the world repechage, while Paraguay appears just below, in sixth place, with eight points.
With the presence of a modest audience in the stadium, released by the Paraguayan Football Association, the home team proposed to play an offensive game during the first moments and, although it was present in the attack field, it barely took any danger to the opponent’s goal. The best chance came in the 15th minute, when Ospina left the goal to try to recover the ball lost by the defense and delivered it at the feet of the Paraguayans, who were slow and gave time for the goalkeeper to return to the area and the defense to recover.
After that, the Colombians started to dominate the game. Goalkeeper Antony Silva made good saves after submissions by Cuadrado and Uribe, in addition to having seen Grêmio Borja offer danger a few times, including hitting a ball on the crossbar. The good moment, however, was not taken, and the game’s story changed thanks to an inspirational move from Ángel Romero.
In the 38th minute, the Brazilian double-championed forward for Corinthians, now a San Lorenzo player, dominated with his back to Davinson Sanchez, near the end line, and spun, passing the ball between the legs of the Tottenham defender. Afterwards, he played for Sanabria, who hit the first one to take the zero off the scoreboard. Before the break, Brazilian referee Raphael Claus even sent off Barrios, after a confusion between the Colombian defensive midfielder and Romero, but the penalty was reduced to a yellow card after analysis on the VAR’s screen.
Colombia left everything the same again just seven minutes into the second half, thanks to a penalty scored by Arzamendia’s hand and converted by Cuadrado. With the tie on the scoreboard, the match was balanced. The Colombians sought to exchange passes with tranquility in search of spaces, while Paraguay bet on Romero’s attacks.
After some good moments and offensive plays, the pace dropped a lot in the second half of the final stage. Colombia accelerated a little in the last minutes and gave some work to the defense of Paraguay, which took advantage of the spaces given by the visitors and also had its moments of danger. In the end, neither of them managed to avoid a draw.
The two teams return to the field next Thursday to end the three-game streak for the qualifiers. Paraguay will face Venezuela, from 7:30 pm, in another match at Defensores Del Chaco, while Colombia host Chile at Metropolitano Barranquilla, at 20:00.
PARAGUAY 1 x 1 COLOMBIA
PARAGUAY – Antony Silva; Robert Rojas, Gustavo Gómez, Alderete and Arzamendia (David Martínez); Gastón Giménez (Ángel Lucena), Morel and Villasanti; Romero Gamarra, Sanabria (Amarilla) and Ángel Romero (Samudio). Technician: Eduardo Berizzo.
COLOMBIA – Ospina; Medina, Davinson Sánchez, Óscar Murillo and Tesillo; Barrios (Mejía), Uribe (Cuéllar), Cuadrado and Sinisterra (Luis Díaz); Borré (Roger Martínez) and Borja (Falcão Garcia). Coach: Reinaldo Rueda.
GOLS – Sanabria, 38 minutes into the first half. Square, at the 7th minute of the second half.
YELLOW CARDS – Barrios, Gastón Giménez, Gustavo Gómez, Mejía, Morel, Ospina and Roger Martínez.
REFEREE – Raphael Claus (Brazil).
INCOME AND PUBLIC – Not available.
VENUE – Defensores del Chaco Stadium, in Asuncion, Paraguay.
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