Spain comeback denies Chile
Friday, September 2, 2011
Spain 3-2 Chile
The world champions trailed 2-0 before Andrés Iniesta pulled a goal back and Cesc Fàbregas then struck twice for a comeback win in St Gallen.
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Spain warmed up for their potentially decisive UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier with Liechtenstein next Tuesday by recovering from a two-goal half-time deficit to beat Chile in St Gallen, Switzerland.
The Copa América quarter-finalists led at the break thanks to goals from Udinese Calcio's Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas. However, second-half substitutes Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fàbregas combined to give the European and world champions victory, the former Arsenal FC midfielder scoring his second of the night in the dying seconds.
Vicente del Bosque's side could seal qualification for UEFA EURO 2012 in the coming days should the Czech Republic drop points away to Scotland on Saturday and La Roja emerge victorious against Liechtenstein in midweek. Yet on a night when Xavi Hernández equalled Raúl González's record Spain outfield tally of 102 caps, Del Bosque had little to celebrate in the opening 20 minutes.
Isla had Claudio Borghi's side 1-0 up in the tenth minute after smashing Gonzalo Jara's looping cross-field pass past Iker Casillas from the right. It was 2-0 ten minutes later when Vargas smartly rounded the Real Madrid CF goalkeeper before knocking in.
Del Bosque responded by making three changes at the break, among them Iniesta, and it was the FC Barcelona midfielder who reduced the arrears in the 54th minute, driving past Chile keeper Claudio Bravo from outside the box. Iniesta was again involved as Spain drew level 20 minutes before the end when he threaded a pass through the centre which Fàbregas gratefully accepted before slotting right-footed into the net.
As the game drew to a close, Pablo Contreras was ordered off for a challenge on Santiago Cazorla and Spain were then awarded a penalty for a foul on Álvaro Arbeloa in the Chile area. Fàbregas kept his composure to poke home the rebound having seen his original effort saved.