Colombia rallies to clinch World Cup berth

The Sports NetworkOctober 11, 2013 

Colombia will be taking part in its first World Cup since 1998 after the team came from three goals down at halftime on Friday to earn a 3-3 home draw with Chile in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

The visitors blitzed Colombia with three goals in the opening 30 minutes and the first came in the 19th minute through Arturo Vidal, who converted a penalty kick after Eduardo Vargas was brought down by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

Alexis Sanchez then scored two goals in the span of seven minutes to give Chile a 3-0 lead and put the visitors in command of the match.

However, things took a dramatic turn in the 66th minute when Chile's Carlos Carmona received his second yellow card, reducing the team to 10 men.

Colombia went on the attack after that and Teofile Gutierrez scored just three minutes later when he finished off a pass from Pablo Armero.

James Rodriguez drew a foul inside the penalty area for Colombia in the 73rd and Radamel Falcao calmly dispatched the spot kick to make it 3-2.

The home side was now pressing for the equalizer and Rodriguez once again was at the center of things when he was taken down by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, with Falcao firing home his second penalty kick six minutes from time.

Colombia sits in second place with 27 points and has now punched its ticket to Brazil, while Chile will host Ecuador next Tuesday in the final round of qualifiers with a draw clinching a spot in the World Cup for both teams.

Ecuador put itself in a good position with a 1-0 win over Uruguay courtesy of Jefferson Montero's first-half goal, which leaves Uruguay in fifth place.

Argentina has already clinched a spot in the World Cup and the team notched a 3-1 win over Peru on Friday behind a pair of first-half goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi, while the other match in the group saw Luis Seijas score in the 82nd minute to help Venezuela salvage a 1-1 draw against Paraguay.

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