Chile 1-2 Argentina – La Roja couldn’t turn their explosive start into goals against ruthless La Albiceleste

Pace, width, relentless pressing; Qualities that had been missing in Chile’s fall to Ecuador in the previous match. But against Argentina the Chile of old was evident, right down to the defensive deficiencies that ultimately cost La Roja a crucial point (or three) in the race to qualify for Brazil 2014.

The opening 45 minutes were chaotic and frantic, 100mph and end-to-end; football on amphetamines. Chile attacked, Argentina attacked, Chile attacked, Chile attacked, Argentina attacked and so on. It was one of those games I feared to look away to make notes on the match without missing anything.

Yet, even after such an explosive and positive opening Chile ended the game pointless, undone by their profligacy and Argentina’s ruthlessness. La Roja had chances, good chances, to go in front through Gary Medel, Sebastián Pinto and Mark González, but were hit by two sucker-punches before half-time; a coolly taken Lionel Messi goal and a ferocious individual goal from Gonzalo Higuaín.

Borghi’s side tried to find a way back into the game in the second half but could not break down an obdurate Argentina defence until it was too late.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Ecuador 3-1 Chile – Borghi’s experimental formation fails in Quito

Even though there is still 8 games to play, last night’s 3-1 demolition – let’s be honest it was a demolition– handed out by Ecuador felt like seeing your prized Ferrari mis-handled in the garage by a mechanic before your own eyes, prompting the feeling that you may never see it in all its glory again, until a new mechanic is brought in to fix it.

There’s a popular feeling that Borghi, spanner in hand, is slowly dismantling a promising side before eventually replacing his spanner for a sledgehammer and obliterating Chile’s Ferrari.

The Chile that people fantasise and reminisce about were nowhere to be seen: the eclectic movements; defenders attacking; attacker defending; the frantic football that left your head in a spin, yet you wanted to see more and more. And more.

People have to remember it is no longer Marcelo Bielsa’s team. It’s Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi’s. But the marriage they didn’t want to end did. Reluctantly, they have had a new partner for a while now and they want it to end. Quick.

Despite taking the lead through a ridiculous own goal, Chile never looked comfortable and were soon pegged back through Felipe Caicedo. The same player made it 2-1 after Pablo Contreras was shown a second yellow for bringing down Ibarra in the box; the penalty was missed but Caicedo netted the rebound. Segundo Castillo completed a score line that could, and should, have been more convincing.

So what exactly happened:

Continue reading

Chile 2-0 Paraguay: Chile edge hard-fought encounter and keep a clean sheet. Pigs are spotted in the sky above Santiago

Chile followed suit of their previous pair of qualifying matches, recovering from a thumping away loss to win by a two goal margin in Santiago. However last nights match was unlike the previous home win against Peru, the game following a simple pattern; attack (Chile) v defence (Paraguay) in the first 45 minutes, Chile score with one of the few first half chances, Paraguay open up in the second half and put Chile under pressure, Chile seal win with a late counter-attacking goal.

The game saw little incident and one can only imagine Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi was ecstatic that was the case, La Roja keeping their first clean-sheet in eight games.

Two changes were made from the 4-0 hammering at the hands of Uruguay on Friday as Marcelo Díaz and Matías Campos Toro made way for Charles Aránguiz and the return of Alexis Sánchez. There was also an alteration in formation, 3-4-1-2 became 3-3-1-3. Sánchez and Eduardo Vargas were stationed wide of Humberto Suazo while Aránguiz played narrow on the left-hand side of midfield.

As for Paraguay they set up in a defensive 4-4-1-1 formation, making four changes from Friday’s 2-1 home win over Ecuador – Paulo da Silva, Victor Cáceres, Richard Ortiz and Lucas Barrios were replaced by Julio Manzur, Miguel Samudio, Sergio Aqunio and Julio Dos Santos. Rubin Kazan’s Nelson Haedo Valdez played the lone striker role, tasked with keeping Chile’s three centre-backs busy. He was supported by the deeper Dos Santos and Marcelo Estigarribia who was given allowance to venture forward from the left, but the team’s main task was out of possession to sit deep and get men behind the ball.

Continue reading

Chile Announce Squad to Face Uruguay and Paraguay

Recalled

Claudio Borghi sprang a pleasant surprise for Chilean football fans by recalling Alexis Sanchez to La Roja’s squad for the crucial (they’re all crucial to be fair) World Cup qualifying double header with the Copa America finalists, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The Barcelona attacker missed the first pair of matches against Argentina and Peru due to a hamstring injury picked up against Real Sociedad in early September. Event though there is concern from Barcelona, amongst others, about his fitness Borghi had no qualms over calling him up to the 25 man sqauad.

Sanchez adds to the already bulging attacking talent at Bichi’s disposal. Attacking talent that persuaded the Chilean coach to go to Buenos Aires with three forwards and a ‘No 10’, only to suffer a 4-1 defeat before plundering four goals themselves in a devastating attacking performance against Peru in Santiago.

Continue reading

Argentina 4-1 Chile – 5 ‘Observations’

It wasn’t the start to World Cup qualifying for Brazil 2014 Chile had in mind; falling behind early on did not seem to deter La Roja but a second goal before half-time and when Chile were enjoying a period of domination all but ended the contest. Here is a belated review of some talking points from the game on Friday:

1.    Claudio Borghi got it wrong

As admirable as it was to state that “we will attack” Argentina from the beginning and setting his team up in a 3-3-2-2 (ish) formation – which included two wing-backs, two ‘No 10s’ and two strikers – Borghi got it wrong. Simple as that. With injuries in defence robbing ‘Bichi’ (Borghi’s nickname) of Pablo Contreras and Osvaldo González there was a required shifting of personnel and a vital midfield component, Arturo Vidal, to the backline. The back three should have been given greater protection than a sole midfield holder (Carlos Carmona), flanked by two wing-back-cum-wingers.

Continue reading