Chile came from one goal down to force the Socceroos of Australia to a one-one draw in the last group match in the ongoing FIFA confederation Cup in Russia.The victory took the La Roja to the semi-final stage of the competition, where they would play against group A top-finisher,Portugal in Kazan on Wednesday. In the other group B match,Germany saw off the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon by three goals to one, a result that makes them the top-finisher of their group.Germany are now paired with group A runner-up Mexico in the second semi-final game to be played in Sochi on Thursday.
The two sides came into the game in need of outright victory, though a draw was all Chile needed to proceed to the semi-finals; but the La Roja needed a comprehensive victory to top the group in order to avoid Group A’s winner,Portugal.The Sooceroos, on the other hand,needed to win by at least two goals to earn a semi-final berth.
The two sides played aggressively in the early minutes of the half.Both sides defended in numbers, and tackles were freely thrown as the game proceeded.
Arturol Vidal drew a save from Matthew Ryan with a seventh minute volley.The Bayern Munich’s mid-fielder ticked all the boxes throughout the early exchanges, and was yellow carded for one of his cynical challenges.
Chile were the dominant side in the first twenty five minutes of the game. Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vagras,on two separate occasions ,had to be forcefully dispossessed of the ball by Socceroos defenders inside their penalty box.
Australia had a chance to shoot into the lead through Massimo Luongo in the thirty fifth minute of the game.The Queen Park Ranger’s mid-fielder was fed a pass inside Chile’s penalty box by James Troisi, but his final shot was pushed out of danger by the brilliant goal keeping of Claudio Bravo.
Troisi gave the Socceroos their first goal which came from a counter-attacking play from the middle of the pitch. A pass from a team mate found Troisi inside the six yard box and he adroitly chipped the ball over an onrushing Bravo into the net.
A concerted defending from Australia’s defenders prevented Vidal from equalizing in the forty fourth minute.
An apparent lack of striker’s technique prevented Trent Sainsbury from scoring Australia’s second goal when he fired a shot over the crossbar from inside the penalty box in the dying minute of the first half.
The Chileans sensing that a second goal from their opponent would eliminated them from the competition, entered the second half with more determination. Their opponent continued to play a high press, searching for a second goal to seal their qualification.
In the last twenty five minutes of the game, the Chileans took control of the game, dominating the ball possession as they search for an equalizer.
Chile’s persistence finally paid off when second half substitute Martin Rodriguez beat Ryan from inside the penalty box with a righted-footed curler.
Jamie Maclaren wasted and opportunity to shoot Australia into the lead for a second time when he shot a Troisi’s cross from the left flank far from the goal post.
Australia came third in their group at the end of the their third game, having earned two points from three matches.Though they failed to advance to the semi-final, the Socceroos have every reason to hold their heads high with their performance in this competition. They fought gallantly against the World Cup holder, Germany; played a draw against back-to back winner of the Copa America Chile and played another draw with reigning African Nations Cup winners,Cameroon.