Brazil held in extremely eventful game

1-1 (83) Ivo Basay


0-1 (56) Hugo Gonzáles (own goal)

1990 World Cup -Qualification
CONMEBOL – Group 3
Video: Full match
Sun. 13 August 1989
Kick-off: 5.00pm
Estadio Nacional, Santiago
Att.: 60,697
Admission: From 1000 to 10 000 Pesos (USD 4-USD 40)
Ref.: Jesús Díaz Palacio (COL)
L1: Octavio Sierra (COL)
L2: José Torres Cadena (COL)


(Twitter thread)

Although the group was only about to embark on its third fixture, it still meant that they were closing in on the halfway stage of the qualification. As both Chile and Brazil had fairly comprehensively dealt with Venezuela away from home, there was little doubt that the solitary qualification spot would go to the team which did better in the internal clashes between these two countries. Accumulated goal difference didn’t matter much yet, as both were also due to tackle the Venezuelans at home in the trail of this game, though it appeared to be so that Chile ought to win the game in order to stand a chance of making it through. The Brazilians would surely be satisfied with a point. They were yet undefeated throughout World Cup qualification history, something which also emphasized the task ahead for the Santiago hosts.


Chile team news

Orlando Aravena (far right)

Chile manager Orlando Aravena could choose from the same 16 which he had had available to him during last Sunday’s journey to Caracas. Did that mean he would pick an identical starting eleven? Despite playing the group’s underdogs, they had not always performed as well as could have been hoped, even if they’d returned home with a 3-1 win. Against a spirited Venezuela, Chile had needed to up the ante once the hosts had pulled a goal back in the second half.

This would be a totally different game. There had been some spat ahead of the game, though, with the Chile boss seemingly the more keen on mind-games. Aravena had said that “Brazil would surely not dare to pick three strikers against us”, like they had done during their 4-0 win in Venezuela two weeks ago. He also felt unsure whether the Brazilian players would be up for the physical battle: “The more technical ability a player has, the less equipped he is to go to war”, suggesting that he could try intimidation tactics. With Chile hoping for a win to please their capacity crowd, they would expect to push the Brazilians all the way. It was a mammoth task ahead of them, as no team had ever managed to defeat the Brazilians in World Cup qualification.

Two-goal scorer in Caracas, the manager’s nephew, playmaker Jorge Aravena, had scored a tap-in and from a fantastically executed long-range free-kick. Second in the goal charts in the Mexican league in the 1988/89 season, the Puebla man was used to scoring, something which was further underlined by his 22 national team goals in only 35 appearances. He had been their go-to man last time around, working with two busy midfielders in his vicinity. The Chileans had played with two wide men in support of striker Hugo Rubio, though the one doubt ahead of the game today was France based winger Ivo Basay. The 23 year old, who had scored two of the four goals in their last win against Brazil, that 4-0 rout in the ’87 edition of Copa América, had picked up a minor rib injury following his crash into the advertising hoardings in Venezuela. He had been replaced by young striker Iván Zamorano on the hour, with Rubio moving into more or less a free attacking role with a left-sided origin. This could prove to be the blue print again.

At the back, Fernando Astengo had led the team from his libero position, allowing his central defensive partner Hugo Gonzáles the freedom to cross the halfway line on several occasions. In addition, both full-backs, Alejandro Hisis to the right and the experienced Héctor Puebla along the opposite side, had enjoyed coming forward. Despite something of an ill reputation, much due to the grim nature of the 1987 Copa América final against host nation Uruguay, where the Chileans had matched their opponents in having two players sent off (Astengo and centre-back partner Eduardo Gómez), this Chile edition was quite an attack-minded team. They would need all their guile to get something from the recent Copa América winners.

Brazil team news

Sebastião Lazaroni (second from right)

Two weeks had passed since Brazil’s routine win in Caracas. They had utilised an alternative formation there, accommodating three ace strikers in the same eleven: Bebeto, Romário and Careca. The latter had not been totally fit, having missed out on the continental championships, though his mere presence had been tought to lift the relatively youthful side. The Napoli star was once again included among the travelling party.

Three of the 16 who had travelled to Venezuela were not included on this occasion. They were back-up ‘keeper Acácio (in had come Zé Carlos), veteran full-back Josimar and forward Renato Gaúcho, who had remained on the bench throughout back then. The other two who had been drafted in were attacking right-sided defender Jorginho and highly promising centre-back André Cruz, a cultured, left-footed defender.

With Brazil most likely to switch back to their more pragmatic 5-3-2 formation for this occasion, one of the three super strikers would have to give way. Romário and Bebeto had been successfully paired during the Copa América, and could get the nod again. In midfield, Silas and Valdo had played in the two inside positions ahead of the somewhat more defensive Dunga in that tournament on home soil. If Lazaroni, who had told the press that he was not keen on engaging in a word-feud with Aravena pre-match, would want a replica of their engine room from the triumphant continental championships, it would spell bad news for Alemão, who had only been a bit-part player then.

With no Carlos Mozer still available, would the libero position belong to Mauro Galvão again? Aldair and Ricardo Gomes would remain favourites to complete the central defensive trio. Mozer, in fact, was by now out of the squad for the remainder of the qualification, as Marseille requested that he immediately returned home from Brazil, where he had travelled to join up with the national team ahead of this fixture. This had meant that he had missed out on Marseille’s 2-1 home win against Metz the previous weekend. He had returned in time for their 1-1 draw at Nice the day before the Chile game, and played the full 90 minutes. With Mozer out, Lazaroni had been contemplating other centre-half solutions, as both Ricardo Rocha of São Paulo and Corinthians’ Marcelo had been considered for selection. Rocha, in particular, was interesting due to his versatility: He could play in a number of defensive positions, even as libero, where he had played for Sporting Lisbon during the 88/89 season, before returning home to Brazil due to the club’s inability to process Rocha’s salary.

Now that Jorginho, West Germany bound, again was available for selection, Lazaroni would appear to have something of a luxury problem: Would he continue with Mazinho, or would the soon to be Bayer Leverkusen player come into action?

Brazil would wish to set the record  straight following the abysmal 0-4 at the hands of the Chileans from the continental tournament two years earlier. This time around, they appeared to have a much more balanced and clearly stronger side. Would it be sufficient to return home from Santiago with both points in the bag?


34 year old Colombian official Jesús Díaz Palacio had been placed in charge of what was expected to be a heated clash, considering the Chileans’ desire to advance to the World Cup at Brazil’s expense. Díaz Palacio had only been 31 years of age when he had officiated during the 1986 World Cup, as he had run the rule over the group stage game between Belgium and Iraq (2-1). The latter had had defender Samir Shaquer in their team, and he had spat on the referee during the game, subsequently suspending the player for a year. That game had, in fact, not been the first time that he had refereed the Iraqis, as he had also overseen their 1-1 group stage draw with Canada during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, USA. Coincidence (surely) would even have it so that he was placed in charge of 1988 Olympics group stage game between Zambia and Iraq (!) (2-2) in Seoul, South Korea.

Díaz Palacio (centre), with linesmen José Cadena (left) and Octavio Sierra

More famously, Díaz Palacio had been the man in the middle in the ’86 tournament’s quarter-finals clash between host nation Mexico and West Germany (0-0, FRG winning on penalties).

The young official also had experience from refereeing both at the Copa Libertadores and Copa América, and he had even been in charge in Tokyo, Japan, when Nacional of Uruguay in 1988 had triumphed in the Intercontinental Cup, defeating reigning European Cup champions PSV Eindhoven. The game had finished 2-2, with Nacional winning the penalty shoot-out.

Previous meetings

Chile and Brazil had come face to face on 46 previous occasions, with today’s visitors easily the more successful since their first meeting back in 1916: 33 Brazilian wins underlined their superiority, with eight matches having ended in draw, and just five times in Chilean victory. It had taken Chile 40 years and 17 matches to even record their first ever win, which had happened in the Uruguay staged 1956 version of Copa América. An emphatic 4-1 triumph had helped them on their way to finishing second.

In World Cup context, the Brazilians had won all three previous encounters to date: In qualification for the 1954 tournament in Switzerland by 2-0 in Santiago and 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro, whilst they had also famously crossed paths in the 1962 World Cup, staged in Chile, when the visitors had triumphed by 4-2 in the semi-finals in this very stadium. That had been their last telling encounter until the 1987 edition of Copa América, when Chile had famously thrashed the Brazilians by 4-0 in Argentina on their way to finishing runners-up.

Chile (4-3-3)

1 Roberto Rojas (c)32São Paulo
2 Alejandro Hisis27OFI Kreta
4 Héctor Puebla34Cobreloa
5 Hugo Gonzáles26Colo Colo
6 Jaime Pizarro25Colo Colo
8 Raúl Ormeño 2′, 14′31Colo Colo
10 Jorge Aravena 45+4′31Puebla
11 Fernando Astengo 90′29Grêmio
14 Patricio Yáñez 58′28Real Betis
15 Hugo Rubio 52′, sub 59′29St Gallen
16 Iván Zamoranosub 87′22St Gallen

x Marco Cornez31Universidad Católica
x Leonel Contreras27Deportes La Serena
x Jaime Vera26OFI Kreta
7 Juan Carlos Letelieron 87′30Deportes La Serena
9 Ivo Basayon 59′23Stade Reims
Manager: Orlando Aravena

Brazil (5-3-2)

1 Taffarel23Internacional
2 Mazinhosub 77′23Vasco da Gama
3 Aldair23Benfica
4 Mauro Galvão27Botafogo
5 Brancosub 10′25Porto
6 Ricardo Gomes (c)24Benfica
7 Bebeto25Vasco da Gama
8 Dunga 48′25Fiorentina
9 Valdo25Benfica
10 Paulo Silas 67′23Sporting Lisboa
11 Romário 4′23PSV Eindhoven

x Zé Carlos27Flamengo
13 Jorginhoon 10′, 60′24Flamengo
14 André Cruzon 77′20Ponte Preta
x Alemão27Napoli
x Careca28Napoli
Manager: Sebastião Lazaroni

Match report

First half

Fernando Astengo and Patricio Yáñez

The home side had come out first, even ahead of the officials, and were obviously greeted by a chorus of cheers from the near capacity crowd. They were soon followed by the referee and linesmen, as well as the visitors. There had been a lot of verbals and mind-games from Chile manager Orlando Aravena in the days leading up to the game, and this had seemed to really work the crowd up; they were sensing blood.

Brazil supremo Sebastião Lazaroni had not wanted to take part in the ‘media war’ instigated by Aravena, as his focus had solely been on the task ahead. He was under no illusions as to how difficult it was going to be.

As the teams lined up prior to kick-off, one could see that there had been a change in the Chilean side from the one which had taken to the pitch in Caracas a week earlier. It was not totally unexpected, as left wing man Ivo Basay’s bruised ribs had meant he was placed on the bench. He had had a disappointing performance in Venezuela, perhaps aided by that injury. Young striker Iván Zamorano, who had come on in his place then, was in the starting eleven on this occasion. The powerful and aerially strong striker would surely assume the centre-forward role.

Silas (10) back in for Brazil

The visitors were also with one change from their starting Caracas eleven from two weeks earlier: Again, it had not been wholly unexpected, as striker Careca had been relegated to the substitutes’ bench in order to accommodate playful midfielder Paulo Silas instead. This surely meant that their formation had changed from 3-4-3 to 5-3-2 (or 3-5-2, depending on how you look at it). Silas would be reunited from start with his two fellow midfielders Dunga and Valdo, and the triumvirate had recently been instrumental in securing the Brazilians their first continental championship trophy for 40 years.

The public address system only played the intro of each country’s national anthem, something which clearly took a couple of Brazil’s players by surprise.

Before the game could go ahead, though, Colombian referee, the youthful looking Jesús Díaz Palacio, would walk to behind the Chilean goal, where he felt that the photographers had gathered too closely to goal. It seemed strange, as they were all lined up behind the advertising hoardings, though Díaz Palacio did not want them across the centre, so he ordered that they be moved towards each side, away from directly behind goal. He even saw it necessary to have a chat with some members of the police force which were present, probably to make sure that they maintained the photographers’ distance. Having got his way behind Roberto Rojas’ goal, he would repeat the procedure behind Claudio Taffarel’s goal. This all caused further delay, and by the time of kick-off, the game was more than 15 minutes late in commencing.

Romário agitated by something Hisis had said. Yáñez (14) looking on

As both teams had lined up and were beginning to feel the flow of adrenaline, there had apparently been some verbals between Chile’s defender Alejandro Hisis and Brazil striker Romário. Even home midfield man Raúl Ormeño would arrive, although this did not keep Romário from reacting by getting into Hisis’ face. There would be some light shoves, and visiting full-back Branco saw it necessary to come and guide Romário away before the situation escalated further.

The visitors, clad in their traditional yellow shirts and light blue shorts, would put the game in motion through their expected front two of Bebeto and Romário. Off we go!

Early fracas

It does not take long before the home side display that nasty side to their game with which they’ve been associated in the past, as midfield man Ormeño assaults Branco a minute and 50 seconds in. The Brazil left-back is about to transport the ball towards the halfway line, though his path is cut short by a vicious, knee-high tackle which should’ve had the referee send the 31 year old Colo Colo stalwart off. It clearly looks like a tackle designed to injure, and slow-motion replays tell tales of the challenge’s sinister nature. The referee only issues a yellow card, which in all honesty is a ridiculous decision.

Hisis lays injured on the ground after Romário’s attack

Branco needs medical treatment, something which is hardly a surprise, and the game is halted while he’s treated. As he is carried towards the touchline, one can hear the crowd react to something which had occured away from the cameras’ attention. We learn very soon that there has been an altercation between Romário and Hisis, perhaps were they picking up where they had left off immediately prior to kick-off. Romário can be seen tracked by three Chileans, Astengo, Gonzáles and the fiery Ormeño, whilst Hisis remains lying on the ground. Romário is trying to encourage the linesman on the far side to tell a side of the story which could aid the striker’s plight, though the referee has none of it, and goes on to show the Netherlands based ace the red card. Romário has struck Hisis. In a post-match interview, he is quoted on the following: “I didn’t hit him that hard.”

Rojas and Ricardo

Although there is no video evidence of the sending-off incident, the expulsion had clearly been warranted. Hisis would be stretchered off for treatment on the touchline, whilst Romário had been escorted off the pitch by a representative from the Brazilian FA. Referee Díaz Palacio then summons members of the nearby police force across to himself right on the touchline, with a FIFA representative also in immediate proximity. It is difficult to interpret exactly what his objective is. No less than eight policemen are in the referee’s vicinity. He also calls over the two team captain’s, Rojas and Ricardo, possibly letting them know that he’d appreciate it if they could have a talk to their respective crews. The game can eventually proceed nearly five minutes after Ormeño’s tackle. Chile will continue the tie carrying a numerical advantage, and some may claim that they’re already succeeding in their hostile tactics.


Jorginho about to enter the fray

Whilst the stricken Branco tried to carry on, it would quickly become evident that he needed to come off. His knee had taken quite a whack, and he had been fortunate not to be severely injured. He left the pitch for further treatment whilst play continued, and was subsequently substituted for Jorginho just after nine minutes. Brazil would switch Mazinho across from his original right-back position to the left, whilst Jorginho assumed what was to him a traditional right-sided role.

Charged: Raúl Ormeño

The game had been a stop-start affair until now, but hopefully focus could be brought back to the original idea of football again in the wake of this substitution. Clearly, some players were appearing with high adrenaline levels, and Ormeño was walking a tightrope following his early booking. He had had a failed attempt at tackling Valdo just prior to this latest stop in play, and he would need to calm down in order to remain on the pitch. Chile could ill afford to lose him, as he was an integral part of their midfield, offering plenty of running and battling to Jorge Aravena’s right.

The inevitable

Ormeño receives his marching order

What happened on 14 minutes was inevitable. Ormeño, clearly not balanced at all, should have been taken off the pitch by his manager, as he had been edging closer to an early bath by the minute. When he lost the ball to Valdo deep inside the Brazilians’ half of the pitch, he attempted to clip the visiting midfielder’s feet, prompting an immediate reaction from the referee. Ormeño very soon realized what was coming, and he tried to intimidate the referee into keeping his cards in his chest-pocket, to the extent that linesman Octavio Sierra needed to step in front of the referee, acting as his protector.

Several Chilean players wanted to have a word

The Chile midfield man was physically being kept away from the referee by team mate Hugo Rubio, and the rest of his team mates gathered around the referee. The Colombian’s decision was clear: Ormeño was off for a second bookable offence (even if he should have walked after that initial tackle on Branco). Four team mates would usher Ormeño off the pitch, and the pre-match media talk had far from been empty words as Chile were waging a footballing war. They no longer held a one man advantage, and Ormeño’s lack of discipline could cost his team dear.

Hisis after near post header over

Those who had lost belief by now in this game actually containing some football could be understood. This was far from the game’s original idea, and there had been little sportsmanship on display hitherto. However, with what appeared to have been the main agitator out on the pitch, Ormeño, deservedly sidelined, perhaps play could resume with emphasis on actual play? There had been a solitary opportunity so far, with Hisis proving that his head wasn’t hurting as he connected well on the near post with a header from Hugo Rubio’s right wing corner. The full-back’s effort had just cleared the bar by a couple of feet.

At last some football

As the action resumed, there was eventually a sustained period of football. Neither team wanted to just sit back and protect what they’d already got, and so both Chile and Brazil went forward in search of a goal. It felt almost like a revelation when the two sides proved themselves capable of more than provoking ill feelings, and the pace of the game was certainly not bad.

Puebla’s shot

There were spells of dominance for the hosts, although you did feel that there was more individual quality in the away ranks, something which should not come as a surprise to anyone. In the space of just over a minute, Chile have three attempts goalwards, with the first two coming from young striker Zamorano, who had looked so lively after coming on in their previous fixture. His second effort was the better one, when he’d struck from distance, only to see his rising half volley clear the bar by half a yard. Then left-back Héctor Puebla had rounded off an attack designed by right wing man Patricio Yáñez, whose cross had been too high for Zamorano. Puebla’s effort from the corner of the area had gone well wide to the left, though.

Jaime Pizarro

Brazil at times appeared to enjoy the slightly greater freedom of space which the two expulsions had led to: There was more room in midfield than there otherwise would’ve been. Chile, either to their credit or due to their lack of tactical nous, had not brought a replacement midfielder on after Ormeño had seen red, and so they were fighting a losing battle in the central areas. Admittedly, they had pulled Rubio slightly deeper from his original position to the left in attack, but this did not compensate fully for the busy Ormeño’s absence. Jaime Pizarro was an industrial player in their engine room, but Jorge Aravena in the centre was less so, and so they would need some adapting before getting used to the idea of playing without an instrumental team member. To try and make up for this, manager Aravena would allow centre-back Gonzáles to operate as a third midfielder when the situation allowed for it. He thrived when being able to carry the ball out from his own half, but it was a greater problem being without their number 8 when they were out of possession.

Dunga going close

With the game arriving towards the halfway stage in the first period, Brazil wish to emulate Chile’s earlier attacking impetus, though their efforts, too, come from distance. Valdo had come across to the right and transported the ball from his own half and deep into Chilean territory, making a run towards the centre, until firing from 25 yards out a shot which Rojas dealt with comfortably enough. Silas, too, tries his luck, but his effort’s several storeys too high. Another Valdo shot precedes Brazil’s best attempt yet, which is when Dunga strikes from 30 yards a shot which unfortunately from his perspective bends away from the upright, not clearing the goal frame by much.

Evening out

Yáñez on a burst. This time it is Mazinho chasing

With the game surpassing the half hour mark, it is a fairly even procedure. Whilst Brazil had looked to build up a certain momentum earlier, Chile were no inferior to their more illustrious visitors by this point. The game had dropped somewhat in pace, which possibly gained the hosts. Not that they were without speed throughout their team, because their front line, and in particular Yáñez, had pace to burn, and Chile would often look towards the right hand side when they wanted to take the fast approach towards goal. This saw to that the Spain based 28 year old was quite frequently involved, and with Mazinho at times pushing a little high from his left-back position, it had meant that Brazil skipper Ricardo needed to act as a covering left-back at times. This was not unlike what one had seen during the Brazilians’ first qualifier, as Venezuela’s wide forward Fernández had threatened the same spaces during that tie. Yáñez’ crossing was not always spot on, though.

Jorge Aravena: Hardly industrious

In midfield, Chile were beginning to cope with life after Ormeño. Initially, they had taken some time to adapt, as Pizarro had been left relatively alone in his chasing. Aravena, whilst not entirely a luxury player, did not have it in him to give chase to the same extent. Ormeño would have been ideal for this purpose, but rather than having him still in their ranks, the Chileans would now see Rubio operate slightly deeper. Not that he had the same defensive capability as the man whom he kind of filled in for. It was not surprising to see that their play had suffered in the minutes after the sending off.

Dunga: midfield presence

Brazil had not quite managed to take advantage, despite their supposed midfield superiority. At times, they had been pretty to watch, but they’d yet to prove efficient. Silas had not come into play much, and plenty had been focused around Dunga and Valdo. The two wide players, Jorginho and Mazinho, would also push forward, whilst it looked like Bebeto, their sole striker after Romário’s early expulsion, had come into a more central role than recently. He was someone often thriving in the channels, but he would often be closer to the hosts’ central defenders so far, which probably did not suit him so well. This had also partially been an explanation for all the efforts from distance which we had seen, and in particular from the visitors. Dunga had had their latest when his left-footed attempt from 25 yards had been scuffed high and wide on 26 minutes.

A quick look through the two teams

Fernando Astengo

The Chilean set-up had originally been a 4-3-3, and they should probably be credited for continuing with their attacking approach despite going down to ten men. Of course, that could well be due to the fact that the Brazilians were also a man down, and a win was of greater importance, and need (!), to Chile than the away side.

Two of their players were playing their club football in Brazil: goalkeeper and captain Roberto Rojas was a feature for São Paulo, whilst libero Astengo was playing with Grêmio in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Rojas had come across as a fairly down to earth character from interviews and articles in Brazilian media in the days leading up to the game, whilst little had been said on Astengo. Both their respective roles mirrored those which they’d held in Caracas the previous week.

Héctor Puebla (second half)

Only four Chileans were found in the domestic league on a daily basis. They were centre-back Hugo Gonzáles and midfielders Jaime Pizarro and Raúl Ormeño at Santiago club Colo Colo, Chile’s best supported club, and there was experienced left-back Héctor Puebla at Cobreloa of Calama far north in the long-stretched country. Puebla had a past playing further forward along the left hand side, something which could be understood from his attacking nature. He would also have to look out for Jorginho, who enjoyed coming forward along the Brazilian right hand side.

Iván Zamorano: guiding Romário off the pitch after the latter’s red card

There were four Chileans based with European clubs: Hisis at right-back, another player rich in attacking interest, and probably someone who, like Puebla, had a recent history of featuring further ahead in the pitch. His employer was Greek club Crete, where he was a team mate of Jaime Vera’s, a Chile substitute for the second weekend running. There was Yáñez with Real Betis, and there was the original front two of Zamorano and Rubio at Swiss topflight club St Gallen. Zamorano had found it difficult to make the same impression against strong Brazilian centre-backs as he had done against the Venezuelans, but he was still a handful. Service had not brought the best out of him yet, though. As for Rubio, who had played in the centre-forward role from kick-off in Caracas, but moved out into some sort of wide left position once Basay had gone off for Zamorano, was again working from a similar position to the one he had taken on during the final half an hour in Venezuela. We’ve already touched on how he would need to do some tracking back after they had been reduced to ten men, though this is hardly a prolific part of his game. Rubio is clever on the ball, and adds flair to the forward line. His brain’s quicker than his feet.

Dependable: Mazinho

As for the visitors, their change from their last fixture had been midfielder Silas in for striker Careca. They were back in Lazaroni’s favoured 5-3-2, though the early sending off had obviously not been part of their plan. Losing Branco from the left-back position through that early injury had been another blow. Defensively, Mazinho was absolutely no inferior, but they would lose an attacking dimension, which would have been provided through Branco’s left foot. Mazinho, whilst not foreign to coming forward from the left-back position, would need to switch the ball over to his right foot before crossing. He’d started out along the right, but when Jorginho had come on for the injured Branco, Mazinho had moved across to the left.

Bebeto shows what he’s about

Super Rojas save to keep the score at 0-0

Opportunities are at a minimum for most of the opening half, which is being dominated by efforts from distance. With a couple of exceptions, these shots have rarely troubled either goalkeeper. The blank scoreline is reflecting the game well, though on 44 minutes Brazil conjure up the biggest chance of the game yet. It had been rare that either of the three visiting centre-backs had crossed the halfway line, though for once Aldair had joined in attack. Mazinho was played down the left by Bebeto, and when he’d checked and crossed to just outside the area right out from goal, Aldair had headed the ball down for Bebeto to swivel and have a go with his left foot on half volley from inside the area. It takes a tremendous reaction save from Rojas with his right hand to tip the ball over the bar for a left wing corner.

Several minutes of stoppage time

The first half continued through 53 minutes; eight minutes and 11 seconds into time added on, señor Díaz Palacio finally blew for half-time. It all stemmed from that early sequence with Ormeño’s tackle, Branco’s injury, Romário’s sending off and then shortly after also Ormeño’s red card.

Goalkeeper’s time to worry: Aravena free-kick

Chile midfielder Aravena had scored twice last week, and he was always their go-to man for attacking set-pieces. He had netted no less than 28 league goals to finish second in the Mexican league’s charts the previous season, and he has three efforts from distance during the first half on this occasion. Two of them are free-kicks, though whilst his first on 28 minutes curls low to the right of Taffarel’s post, he manages to draw a save from the ‘keeper six minutes into time added on. Again, Aravena had curled the ball towards the bottom right corner, though it had not carried sufficient power to pose a threat. He was far off a replica of his ‘worldie’ last Sunday. Aravena had also got his name in the referee’s black book for a foul on Aldair deep into injury time.

Goalless at half-time was fair enough. The game certainly had an edge to it, though all was still to play for ahead of the final 45.

Second half:

The latter stages of the first half had not been much to write home about. This probably also had to do with the heat, which had been closing in on 30 degrees centigrades during the day. Besides, the pitch was hardly doing the players any favours, as it was uneven, possibly also not watered, giving the ball an odd bounce here and there.

Neither side had made any half-time changes in personnel; both continued with the 22 who had left the field for the break. The Chilean fans had been vociferous since long before the start of the game, and it was fair to describe the stadium atmosphere as ‘hostile’. Yet, the home side had failed to truly put Brazil ‘keeper Taffarel to the test, and they would want to change that for the final 45 minutes. The visitors, who had probably just shaded possession, would certainly not mind should the score remain goalless through to full time.

Jorge Aravena and Iván Zamorano get the ball rolling for the second half. Chile attack from right to left as we look at it.

Rubio sees yellow

The early second half pace is hardly great. There is a lot of transporting, slowing the tempo down, and several passes go astray. Chile, who had been more direct than the Brazilians during the opening half, had Rubio still working in a fairly liberated role behind Zamorano and wide man Yáñez, with the latter having few defensive responsibilities. Rubio cut in from the right hand side two minutes after the restart, eventually prompting a foul from Dunga, who didn’t even attempt to alter his direction when the Chile number 15 suddenly changed the course of his run. The referee awarded the midfield hard man a yellow. Four minutes after, it was Rubio himself who got booked when he’d put his foot high into the kidney area of Valdo following a Jorginho throw-in from the right. The Brazil midfield elegant needed some treatment before he was able to continue.

Hosts threaten

Yáñez goes close

Chile would still need fewer touches to arrive near the final third of the pitch. They display plenty of commitment with nearly nine minutes of the second half gone, as Gonzáles wins the ball from Bebeto through a tackle which easily could’ve resulted in a free-kick. As the referee waved ‘play on’, the industrious Pizarro seized on the loose ball, brought it out from his own half, and played Rubio in inside the centre circle. The latter’s forward ball for Zamorano into the area was cleared, but only as far as to Aravena, who recouped it and fed Yáñez to the right inside the area. The winger quickley turned Mazinho and fired a low drive into the side-netting. Part of the crowd thought it was in, but alas. Taffarel had his near post covered anyway.

Earlier, Chile had also had an effort from Aravena, his third free-kick of the game from within shooting range, easily gathered low down by his left hand post (does it sound familiar?) by Taffarel, following the tackle by Dunga on Rubio which had provoked the referee into displaying a yellow card. Down the other end, Silas had once again misfired when within shooting distance. He really had failed to produce the goods so far.

Brazil score in bizarre fashion

Astengo’s wild clearance cannons off Gonzáles and ends up in the back of the net

Eleven minutes after the restart, Brazil have the lead. They had hardly looked threatening since the break, but a fine involvement from Silas, where he plays Mazinho down the left hand side for the left-back to take it round Astengo and get into the box, opens up the Chileans. Astengo makes it back into the area by the time Mazinho has delievered his low centre, though whilst Puebla had initially stopped the cross, his touch returned it to Astengo, who seemed extremely rushed, as if he had an opponent breathing down his neck. Rather than attempting a controlled clearance, the home libero booted it ‘anywhere’, though unfortunately for him and his fellow citizens, ‘anywhere’ was right into his centre-back colleague Gonzáles’ right knee. The ball ricochetted off the latter and went into the back of the net for the opening goal. Cue silence.


Ivo Basay about to make his entrance

Bookings are easy to come by at this point in the second half. Chile’s Yáñez and Brazil’s Jorginho both saw yellow around the hour mark: Yáñez shouted in vain for penalty when he felt his cross from the right inside the area had struck Ricardo’s arm, though all he got for his loud protests were a card and a corner. Two minutes later, Jorginho clumsily landed on top of the ball when he failed to dribble past Puebla, upon which the referee correctly awarded the hosts a free-kick. The wide man threw the ball away, and got his card application granted within seconds. Inbetween these two incidents, the Chileans had withdrawn Rubio for winger Ivo Basay. Considering how Rubio had shown touches of class, it seemed a little strange that he needed to go off, but the hosts would get a different kind of threat if Basay could live up to his reputation. The France based 23 year old was quick and direct, and prefered to remain out wide to the left. This would surely demand more from Jorginho defensively.

Chile found themselves a goal down, and manager Orlando, the midfield playmaker’s uncle, had felt the need to quickly try and raise their game by introducing Basay. The strong Brazilian defence had not allowed Zamorano any leeway in the air, and the hosts’ greatest threat so far had come from distance, even if neither of Jorge Aravena’s three free-kicks had duly worried the visiting ‘keeper. Should the Chileans lose, their hope of reaching the World Cup would be all but over. They needed to dig themselves out of the mess which they found themselves in. 

Mazinho threads Bebeto through for another goal…which is wrongly ruled out

63 minutes: The poor Colombian referee lets the home side off the hook as he incorrectly disallows Bebeto’s fine goal for 2-0. Again, the visitors had come knocking along their left hand side, where Mazinho, teed up by Dunga’s pass out wide, went on to find Bebeto in a more central position inside the area. The nimble striker, well kept in tow by the home defence so far, produced a fine finish low down to the right of Rojas with his right foot, but the effort was ruled out for offside. Replays clearly show how Astengo’s inside of him as Mazinho’s pass is threaded through. To their credit, the Brazilians remain disciplined and silent rather than rage for the perfectly good goal which never was given.

Silas booked

The game had not felt nasty after the early situations which had led to the double sending-off. Yes, there had been a few free-kicks, but no foul had seemed premeditated, although Rubio’s kick to Valdo’s kidneys had been an unfortunate occurance. That was a well merited yellow card, though the referee was about to dish out booking number five of the second period as Silas lost control of the ball to Puebla just outside the Chilean penalty area almost halfway through the second half. Mr Díaz Palacio issued the midfielder a yellow for attempting to stamp on the home side’s left-back. That was probably as serious as it had got in the second half, although neither player kicked up a fuss over it.

Bebeto in the clear

Rojas saves from Bebeto – outside the area!

There’s more controversy with 20 minutes left for play. Brazil are content with sitting deep, and they no longer push a wide player forward at the same time as either of their midfield players. Jorginho puts in a big shift along the right hand side, offering plenty of running up and down, though his final pass has so far let him down. Mazinho along the other flank is clearly less involved inside the opposition’s half now with Brazil a vital goal up. It is his booted clearance which finds Bebeto on the halfway line, and with the ball up in the air, the lone striker heads it past Chile’s last man of defence, who on this occasion is Gonzáles. Rather than resorting to illegal means, like tugging Bebeto back by his shirt, Gonzáles sees the Brazil forward sprint past him, and once he’s in the clear with just Rojas to beat, you’d have put your money on a second Brazilian goal. However, the home ‘keeper comes out from his area and makes a save with his hands outside the area as Bebeto attempts to shoot past him. It does look as if the referee is about to award a free-kick for Rojas’ handling outside the area, though ultimately he lets the Chile no 1 get away with it. It is another poor decision.

Chile continue on the front foot

Aravena after his latest effort

Chile keep pinning the visitors back around this period of the game, and Pizarro works with no sign of exhaustion in midfield. His partner, Aravena, is generally sitting further up the pitch, and he will usually be found lurking 25 yards away from goal or thereabouts, perfectly positioned to pick up any second ball which may escape the Brazilian penalty area. The visiting defence cope with everything Chile throw at them in the air, so Aravena accepts responsibility in firing from distance. His fifth effort of the afternoon, on 71 minutes, is not too far away from target, although Taffarel watches it all the way.

Less than two minutes later, the Chileans try to force the ball across the goalline through the means of bodies. Brazil are unable to clear a ball into the area, which Pizarro picks up right on the edge, working it back in. There’s a bit of ping pong going on for a short while, until the ball eventually ends up in Taffarel’s grasp (from Jorginho’s ball-lock on the line). There’s several players from both teams in his immediate vicinity, and the hosts try to recoup the ball, either kicking it out of the ‘keeper’s hands or attempting to push the ball across the goalline rugby-style, or indeed both at the same time. The referee has no other option but to signal his whistle, even if he can’t possibly spot the ball due to the sheer amount of bodies in there. Yáñez is in disbelief at how Mr Díaz Palacio hasn’t given a goal.


André Cruz

The volume of Chile’s possession ensures that almost all play takes place inside of Brazil’s half. We’re beyond the half hour mark in the second period, and the still highly enthusiastic home support keeps their spirit up, desperate for a home equalizer. Chile have a number of ways to approach the penalty area, though they look their most enterprising when they can attack down the flanks, lately more so down the right than left. Yáñez still hasn’t tired, but there have been signs of struggle from Brazil left-back Mazinho. Upon another shot from distance, this time Chile’s holding midfielder Pizarro, via his weaker right foot, from which Taffarel needs to concede an ultimately harmless rebound, the visitors are forced into making their second substitution of the game: 20 year young centre-back prospect André Cruz, who had been injured for their recent trip to Venezuela, but who had got some game time during the Copa América, is brought on for Mazinho. The Ponte Preta defender becomes Brazil’s third left-back of the game.


Aravena has poked the ball to an unescorted Basay (9), who will slam the ball home for 1-1

With seven minutes left for play, the Chileans get the equalizer which they had been chasing for a while. True to the nature of the game, it happens in equally bizarre fashion to Brazil’s goal. Goalscorer is substitute Basay, who had had an uneventful cameo so far. Granted, he had come close to scoring only a couple of minutes earlier, when he’d fired well over from close range after Brazil had failed to clear a low Aravena free-kick into the centre from the left. Basay had even been on the end of a long ball forward literally seconds prior to the equalizer, though his half volley from inside the area had gone straight at Taffarel. The Brazil goalkeeper then held on to the ball for too long, according to the referee, who awarded Chile an indirect free-kick four yards out from the goalline, inside the six yard area. Taffarel, rather than hoisting the ball away, simply handed it to Aravena, who put it down before anyone among the visiting defenders had time to organize themselves, and whilst he had found the path to Yáñez blocked, no one had looked out for Basay. Aravena poked the ball to him, and the slender-framed winger blasted the ball into the back of the net for 1-1. It was a controversial goal, but still in accordance with the laws of the game. The Brazilians were furious, and Lazaroni was close to exploding on the touchline.

Bringing balance to the scoreline had refuelled the Chilean batteries, and though the players had displayed an impressive level of energy for most of the half, they now genuinely believed that they could go on and force a winner. Brazil had been on the back foot for long spells, and refocusing at this point in the game must have been difficult: They still struggled to break out from their half, with Chile often playing it long towards the penalty area in order to heap further pressure on the visiting defence. Centrally, Brazil had done well, though they had struggled to keep the lively Yáñez in tow along their left hand side, and left-back was not André Cruz’ natural position.

Juan Carlos Letelier is about to make his entry

Zamorano had not made much of an impact in his central position, although he had battled gallantly with the big Brazil centre-backs, and kept them busy. He, too, had gone through a big amount of running, and right after the goal, he needed Aravena to assist him in stretching due to cramp. He would need to sit down for the final few minutes, and on in his place came experienced campaigner Juan Carlos Letelier. The 30 year old was now the second Chilean forward on the pitch who had also been in the squad during their last World Cup appearance (in 1982).

Until full time

The second half continues through to nearly four and a half minutes of time added on, but disappointingly, Chile are unable to ask further serious questions of Brazil. It is understandable that their players have finally run out of steam. They’ve performed heroics after falling behind, pushing the major favourites all the way, and isolatedly speaking, a point against Brazil, even at home, is no mean feat.

Astengo brings Silas down for his booking

As Chile have few other means of attack than hoisting the ball high towards the area, Brazil defend without too much bother, and they even manage to push up higher in the pitch in the final few minutes of added time. They draw yet another booking from a Chilean player right on 90 minutes, as Silas attempts to stroll through the centre, only to see Astengo trip him and earn himself a yellow. Cruz pops up to fire the resulting free-kick high and wide from his left foot. There is also an effort straight at Rojas from Bebeto three minutes into the additional time, and that turns out to be the final shot of the evening. What a game!

The Brazilians are unhappy with the referee’s performance, and Dunga’s seen walking off the pitch with a wry smile on his face, as if he’s in disbelief of what he’s just been part of. 


It is a game which certainly has plenty of talking points. It starts right away when Ormeño luckily escapes red for savagely kicking down Branco, who subsequently comes off with injury. In the brawl that follows, Romário sees red for lashing out at Hisis, and Ormeño eventually follows suit ten minutes later for a second bookable offence.

Once both teams are down to ten men, the first half is a relatively modest affair. Both teams try their luck from distance several times, though few players are able to hit the target. When they do, neither Rojas nor Taffarel is troubled.

The second half sees no less than six bookings, bringing the total up to eight, as well as two red cards, and Brazil score a fluke of a goal when Mazinho’s low cross is cleared by Astengo straight into his defensive partner Gonzáles for an own goal. Chile manage to pin the visitors back for long spells, and the players draw energy from the noise levels in the stands, where the spectators do their utmost to cheer their heros on. They are finally rewarded seven minutes from time, as substitute Basay can blast home from close range after Chile have been awarded an indirect free-kick following Taffarel’s reluctance to release the ball.

Dunga’s facial expression after the full-time whistle sums up his emotions

In the mean time, Brazil had been robbed of a perfectly good second goal, as Bebeto had been a yard onside from Mazinho’s pass as he thought he’d done 2-0, and the same player saw Rojas save with his hands outside the area when the striker was clean through. Still, it was difficult not to sympathise with Chile for their massive effort, and though the Brazilians were livid about the free-kick decision which subsequently meant 1-1, they would probably not feel too disappointed once they’d distanced themselves from the game.

Group still open, but Brazil surely with a massive advantage now they have the home tie against the Chileans left to play.

Player ratings

1 Rojas 7.0
kept his concentration well, even if there were spells where he had little to do. Gave a couple of rebounds after shots from distance, but none which caused any harm. Lucky to escape yellow for saving with his hands outside the area with Bebeto through
2 Hisis 7.1
had a busy afternoon along the right hand side after falling victim to Romário’s early punch. Headed over at the near post, and provided plenty of width in an attacking display
4 Puebla 7.2
up and down that left hand side, and was useful in crossing with his left foot. Also stood up well defensively to the challenge from Jorginho
5 Gonzáles 7.3
did well in battle with Bebeto, and highly unfortunate to have his signature to the own goal. A centre-back and defensive midfield performance in one at times, as he needed to contribute in midfield especially second half
6 Pizarro 7.4
a very busy performance in midfield. Compensated for the loss of Ormeño through his tenacity and workrate. Drove Chile forward in search for equalizer
8 Ormeño –
lunges into Branco before two minutes; should’ve been sent straight off. Is allowed to play on, but shows he’s imbalanced, and should’ve been replaced. Personal vendetta against Valdo sees him walk for a second yellow
10 Aravena 7.0
at times seemed almost too casual, but dangerous with his many shots from distance, even if he couldn’t quite scare Taffarel. Put in a couple of sound tackles as well
11 Astengo 7.0
a cool customer, even if he rarely strayed forward. Mopped up what came through Gonzáles, and showed his flexibility in a couple of situations
14 Yáñez 7.1
often proved a threat, even if he was playing as one of two up front rather than an out and out winger. Still enjoyed life best when he was played down the right hand side. Crossing let him down
15 Rubio 7.1
would’ve been disappointed to be taken off, but sacrificed for a more attacking player in their search for the equalizer. Showed some quality touches, and did not shirk his somewhat more defensive responsibility after Ormeño’s sending-off
(9 Basay 6.8
quiet for so long after coming on, but then came to life in the final ten minutes, with two near misses before he hammered home the equalizer)
16 Zamorano 6.7
could not escape the attention of the big, strong centre-backs, and service was not quite what he’d have wished for. Still gave plenty of chase out of possession, and always let them know he was there. Off with cramp
(7 Letelier –
somewhat deep in his brief cameo, and could not make a difference)

1 Taffarel 7.2
too kind when handing Chile the ball for the free-kick which brought about the equalizer, but other than that stood firm to anything which the hosts threw at him. A mature performance, even if he mainly came into action after shots from distance
2 Mazinho 7.2
started at right back, switched across to the left when Branco was injured. Played with grace; attacked plenty. Had a major part in the Brazilian goal. Off with what looked like a groin injury
(14 André Cruz –
displayed some positional leniency, showing that he’s not used to playing at left-back. Strong in the air, and a couple of wayward shots from distance)
3 Aldair 6.9
less dominant than in their last outing, though again his elegant style of play caught the eye, especially when he strode forward in possession. A tad too casual at times, though he helped keep Zamorano in check
4 Mauro Galvão 7.0
played with very low risk, but made some fine interceptions, and is no mug in the air
5 Branco –
brutally taken out of the game following horrific early tackle. Tried to play on, but his right knee had taken a twist
(13 Jorginho 7.0
such lungs! A real two-way performance along the right hand side, even if he didn’t impress a lot ball at feet. Some interesting tussles with Puebla)
6 Ricardo Gomes 7.3
an aerial tower of strength, and won most duels with Zamorano. Also has an elegant look about him when coming forward, even if this didn’t occur often this time around. Would also cover for the left-back when Mazinho had been forward
7 Bebeto 7.2
played as a lone striker for almost the entire game. Could not quite match Gonzáles physically, but never stood still, and very unlucky to have his “2-0 goal” unrightfully chalked off
8 Dunga 7.2
helped Brazil dominate for longer first half spells, but like the rest of the away team sat too deep once they’d moved in front, allowing Chile to dominate. Close to great goal from distance, and distributed well
9 Valdo 7.1
played somewhat deeper than previously, most likely due to the sending-off. Distributed as well as one would’ve expected, and also had a couple of decent attempts from long range
10 Silas 6.8
the more advanced midfielder. Some woeful shooting, a couple of misplaced passes, and generally could’ve done more to hold on to the ball inside the opposition’s half
11 Romário –
his only touch happens at kick-off. Sent off for a punch on Hisis, with whom he’d had some on-pitch spat directly before the game started


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