Real Madrid star James Rodriguez scored a second half equaliser as Colombia snatched a precious point in a 1-1 draw with mighty Chile in their South American World Cup qualifying clash on Thursday.
Rodriguez, returning to international duty after a thigh injury which kept him out of Colombia’s opening two qualifiers last month, pounced in the 68th minute to silence the Santiago crowd after Arturo Vidal had put Chile ahead.
Rodriguez’s goal came after a determined fightback from the Colombians, anxious to get a result after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in their previous qualifier.
The draw frustrated Chile however, who dominated possession for long periods but were unable to carve out many clear chances in the face of some disciplined Colombian defence.
Alexis Sanchez was the first to get a shot on goal for Chile after only two minutes, drawing a fine save from Arsenal team-mate David Ospina in the Colombian goal with a dipping shot.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was mostly unoccupied for the first half, but needed to be alert to turn over Dani Torres’s angled shot midway through the half.
The breakthrough came for Chile on the stroke of half-time.
Matias Fernandez curled a wicked freekick into the area and the battling Vidal held off the challenge of the Colombian defence to direct his header past Ospina.
Colombia’s more adventurous approach after the break was rewarded however when a counter-attack saw a loose ball fall to Rodriguez who turned and drilled a low shot past Bravo for the equaliser.
Colombia face Argentina at home next Tuesday in Barranquilla while Chile travel to Montevideo to meet Uruguay.
. By AFP