Montevideo: Argentina and Chile’s World Cup qualification hopes were left on a knife edge after the South American heavyweights slipped up once again on the road to next year’s finals in Russia.
Argentina needed a second-half own goal to help them snatch a 1-1 draw against already-eliminated Venezuela in Buenos Aires while Chile crashed to a 0-1 defeat against Bolivia in La Paz.
The results left 2014 World Cup finalists Argentina and reigning Copa America champions Chile outside of the automatic qualifying places and sets up a nail-biting final two rounds of matches next month. Argentina are fifth in the standings with 24 points from 16 games while Chile are sixth with 23 points.
The Argentinians — who would face a playoff against New Zealand if they remain fifth — host fourth-placed Peru next month in Buenos Aires before an awkward final game at altitude against Ecuador. Chile meanwhile will face Ecuador in Santiago on October 5, before heading to Brazil for their final qualifier five days later.
At the top of the table, Brazil have already qualified and assured themselves of first place. The Brazilians picked up another point on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw against third-placed Colombia in Barranquilla.
A spectacular volleyed goal from Willian gave the Brazilians the lead on the stroke of half-time before Colombia clawed back a share of the points with a battling second-half display capped by a headed equaliser from Radamel Falcao.
Uruguay meanwhile moved to the brink of qualification with a typically combative 2-1 win over Paraguay in Asuncion. Paraguay were left stunned by two opportunistic Uruguay goals. Federico Valverde fired Uruguay into the lead with a deflected shot on 76 minutes before Luis Suarez then broke clear to set up the visitors’ second.