Spain snatch dramatic draw
Jesus Navas and Pedro (AFP)
Geneva - Reigning European and world champions Spain needed a last-gasp Jesus
Navas goal to draw 2-2 with Chile in a friendly in the Swiss city of
Geneva on Tuesday.
With neither side in World Cup qualifying
action, they met in a repeat of a 2011 friendly, in which Spain came
from behind to win 3-2.
On this occasion, Vicente del Bosque's
side twice trailed before coming back to draw, with Eduardo Vargas
netting Chile's two goals and Roberto Soldado and Navas on target for
Having come close to Spain's first-ever loss to Chile, del Bosque lauded his side's opponents.
"I wasn't surprised by their quality," the veteran Spain manager said.
were far more active, and literally a cut above us. We could have
started with more intensity, but I was pleased with the final part of
the match," he said.
"We were able to use this match to test
players who have seen less action recently. We'll be drawing our
conclusions," he added, without elaborating.
Chile's Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli was upbeat after coming nail-bitingly close to an exploit.
were fully aware that we were facing the best team in the world. I'm
more than satisfied with this performance. The result isn't the main
thing," said Sampaoli, whose side remain on track to qualify for next
year's World Cup finals.
"The lads were great. They stood eye to
eye with Spain. I'm proud. And pride beats disappointment. They exceed
all expectations," he added.
Switzerland is home to sizeable
communities from both Spain and Latin America, but the smaller Chilean
contingent outsung and outdrummed the Spanish fans in the Stade de
Roared on by their supporters, Chile took the game to Spain from the outset.
efforts paid dividends fast, as Vargas latched onto the ball and
launched a powerful fifth-minute strike from the centre of the box,
beating Spanish keeper Victor Valdes, given his chance in goal at the
expense of Real Madrid's Iker Casillas.
Spain drew level in the
37th minute, however, with Pedro Rodriguez finding Tottenham Hotspur
striker Soldado, who headed the ball past Claudio Bravo, the Chile
'keeper who plies his trade in La Liga with Real Sociedad.
was still time for Vargas to restore Chile's lead a minute before the
interval with a finish that was similar to his first goal, but once back
from the dressing room, Spain looked hungry to take control.
Iniesta came close to equalising soon after the restart before
substitute Alvaro Negredo failed to make contact with the ball as he
lunged on the line.
But, just when it looked like it was not to be
Spain's night, they struck in stoppage time, Pedro helping the ball on
for Navas to convert at the near post and deny Chile a historic win
against La Roja in the process.
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