Football

Bittersweet for Chile

Bravo's injury mars superb display

CONMEBOL

COLOMBIA 0

CHILE 0

Claudio Bravo was the hero as Chile ground out a hard-fought 0-0 draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier with Colombia yesterday morning (Singapore time) before departing with a leg injury.

Manchester City goalkeeper and Chile captain Bravo (pictured) pulled off two superb first-half saves as the Copa America champions dug in for a vital point in sweltering conditions in Barranquilla.

But Bravo's display was soured by what looked like a pulled muscle in the second half, forcing the veteran Chile goalkeeper to be replaced by Johnny Herrera in the 65th minute.

The result left Colombia in third spot with 18 points from 11 games in South America's qualifying race, with Chile fifth on 17 points.

A cagey opening period saw both sides set out cautiously, Chile having the first shot on goal when Arturo Vidal's first-time volley from the edge of the area went just wide with Arsenal's David Ospina beaten.

Colombia gradually got on top of the visitors however, dominating possession for long periods and forcing Chile into a series of niggly fouls.

Charles Aranguiz became the first to earn a caution from referee Wilton Sampaio for a petulant kick on Colombia's Edwin Cardona.

From the ensuing free-kick, James Rodriguez picked out central defender Oscar Murillo whose firm header was parried over the bar with fine reflex save from Bravo after 37 minutes.

OUTSTANDING

In the closing minutes of the half, Colombia were denied by Bravo again.

Rodriguez's free-kick was flicked on by Abel Aguilar and Miguel Borja's close-range effort was turned around the post.

Colombia brought on striker Radamel Falcao at the start of the second half, but the Monaco forward was unable to break the deadlock.

The hosts' best chance came to Rodriguez in the 90th minute, but the Real Madrid star's dipping shot was well saved.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Chile will be taking a "suicidal" risk if they select Alexis Sanchez for Wednesday morning's (Singapore time) World Cup qualifier against Uruguay as playing the winger could aggravate his hamstring injury.

Chile claimed that Sanchez picked up an "minor muscle injury" during training on Tuesday and subsequently missed yesterday morning's World Cup qualifier.

"I got a text last night (to say) that he has a hamstring injury," Wenger told beIN Sports.

"The team from Chile have travelled without him and they kept him to try and get him fit to play Uruguay for the second game on Wednesday.

"With a hamstring injury, we have to get access for our medical staff to the MRI scan to see what grade it is, how bad it is and make absolutely sure they don't make any suicidal decision that could harm his future for two or three months."

Arsenal's next fixture is a league match at Manchester United on Nov 19. - Wire Services.

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