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Chile beats 10-man Switzerland at World Cup

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-21 15:21:43

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa:  Chile broke through the formerly impenetrable Swiss defense, and Mark Gonzalez`s goal might be enough to get the South Americans into the second round of the World Cup.

Substitute Gonzalez scored on a header in the 75th minute Monday as Chile beat 10-man Switzerland 1-0 to move closer to a spot in the final 16. The Chileans could move on before they take the field again if Spain and Honduras draw Monday night.

Before Chile scored, Switzerland set a World Cup record in the 69th minute by going 551 minutes without allowing a goal, breaking the mark of 550 held by Italy at the 1986 and 1990 tournaments. Chile has won both its games in Group H.

"This is for my family and for all the people who have supported us in Chile," Gonzalez said. "This was a great moment for me and for our team."

Gonzalez headed home a pass from fellow sub Esteban Paredes, who had gotten around the staunch Swiss defense and crossed to Gonzalez at the back post. Gonzalez`s downward header beat goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

"We are in a good position, and we have one more game to prove ourselves even more," Gonzalez said of Friday`s match against Spain at Pretoria.

Switzerland played a man down since the 31st minute when midfielder Valone Behrami was sent off with a straight red card for rough play against Arturo Vidal. That ejection irked the Swiss.

"For me, it was just an unbelievable decision," Behrami said. "There was small contact with my hands on his neck, and he went down like (he was hit with) an elbow. Everyone can make a mistake, but this mistake was very, very big for me because it`s a dream to play in a World Cup."

Vidal admitted he was surprised by the red card.

"I felt his elbow on my neck," Vidal said. "It was a definite yellow card, but I wasn`t expecting a send-off."

The last goal the Swiss allowed came on July 2, 1994 when they were eliminated 3-0 by Spain in the second round. Aitor Begiristain scored from a penalty kick in the 87th minute 16 years ago.

Swiss sub Eren Derdiyok nearly equalized in the 90th minute but drove his shot wide from in front of the net as Switzerland put on late pressure.

Chile had all the first-half pressure even before Behrami`s ejection for hitting two Chileans in the face within seconds.
Alexis Sanchez appeared to give Chile the lead in the 49th minute, but was clearly offside. He nearly scored in the 55th minute on a break but was thwarted from the right side by Benaglio.

Chile included striker Humberto Suazo in its starting lineup, while Steven Von Bergen replaced injured defender Philippe Senderos for Switzerland. Senderos, who has an injured his right ankle, will also miss Switzerland`s final match.

Suazo was replaced by Jorge Valdivia to start the second half.

"Suazo played the first half-hour where the space was very small and the ball rarely hit the area he was playing, hardly any possibility to move forward," Bielsa said. "It was very difficult for him to lead the attack in this kind of situation."

Chile`s Carlos Carmona received one of nine yellow cards handed out by Saudi Arabian referee Khalilk Al Ghamdia. It was Carmona`s second of the tournament, and he will miss Chile`s match against Spain.

The game started in a sea of red — Chilean and Swiss fans in their predominant colors, and many empty seats, which are mostly red at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Costumes included a woman dressed in a full-length cow outfit and dozens of Chilean flags.

BDST: 1144hrs, June 22, 2010

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