Welp, matchday four proved once again that CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers are the best thing to ever happen to fecha FIFA international breaks. Here’s how the table stands after last night’s action:
Colombia 3 – 2 Bolivia
Real Madrid star James Rodríguez got things underway in the first match of the evening, finishing a stellar jugadón individual to put Los Cafeteros (very much in need of a victory) up by one in the 10th, this despite being dominated by the visiting side.
Carlos Bacca was next to strike in the 41st, but just as I warned wary Twitter followers not to sleep on Bolivia, La Verde worked its way back with goals from Juan Arce and Alejandro Chumacero.
Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina kept his squad in the match – Bolivia had a 22 shot and 20 on target advantage and 66 percent possession – but no matter; Edwin Cardona secured three vital points at the buzzer in the 92nd.
Ecuador 2 – 2 Paraguay
Enner Valencia struck for the first time this qualifying campaign to put high-flying Ecuador ahead in the 20th, but Paraguay was quick to draw level and eventually take the lead with a brace from Dario Lezcano.
Don’t get too psyched – Ángel Mena became the second of three players to score in stoppage time on the night with a 92nd-minute poke. La Albirroja’s four-year winless streak vs. top 40 teams lives.
Chile 1 – 2 Argentina
In the third match of the night, Leo Messi drew level with Diego Simeone as the fourth-most capped player in Argentine soccer history (106). He did so in sublime fashion, assisting Gabriel Mercado’s go-ahead goal in the 25th with the score already level at one apiece thanks to Felipe Gutiérrez and Ángel Di Maria. Check the magic for yourself below:
This guy! It was a good day for La Albiceleste, who improved to eight points in five games despite La Roja’s slight edge in shots and possession.
Peru 2 – 2 Venezuela
Our night of qualifying bliss started and ended with a bang, that’s for damn sure. Peru vs. Venezuela didn’t disappoint – Rómulo Otero put the visitors ahead in the 32nd, converting from the spot after a tough tackle in the box.
And Málaga youngster Juanpi sent a curling corner into fellow boquerón Mikel Villanueva, who proceeded to put La Vinotinto up 2-0 with a powerful slam from short distance.
But alas, ‘twas a tale of two halves; Paolo Guerrero got his side back into it in the 61st, and a 67 percent possession edge eventually led to a full-fledged comeback: 2-2, Raul Ruidíaz 94th-minute equalizer.