Saturday 20 January 2018

Beausejour rounds off slick move to end Chile's 48-year wait

Honduras 0 Chile 1

Tom Fant

JEAN BEAUSEJOUR scored the only goal as Chile beat Honduras in their Group H opening match yesterday to secure their first World Cup finals victory in 48 years.

"We have to enjoy this win, but there's another tough match coming and we have to win again," said the Chile forward Alexis Sanchez.

Beausejour scored in the 34th minute, rounding off a slick move from the Chileans. Playmaker Matias Fernandez split the Honduras defence with a delightful pass, releasing Mauricio Isla on the right flank.

His cross was met at the front post by the Honduran defender Sergio Mendoza, with Beausejour in close attendance. Mendoza tried to clear the ball, but it cannoned off the Chilean into the Honduran net.

The Chileans deserved their victory here in Nelspruit and almost added a second in the 64th minute when a diving header from centre-back Waldo Ponce produced a brilliant reaction save from Noel Valladares in the Honduras goal. But despite their pressure the South Americans struggled to kill the game off, and at times the Hondurans looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

"The defeat was unfair. The goal was unlucky, they didn't create any other chances to score," said Honduras defender Sergio Mendoza.

Chile's victory came 48 years to the day after they last won a World Cup match -- a third-place play-off against Yugoslavia on home soil in 1962.

Since then Chile had been to four World Cups, played 13 matches and failed to win one.

Honduras are still looking for their first World Cup win. This is only their second appearance in the finals, their first ending without victory in 1982.

Honduras -- Valladares; Mendoza, Chavez, Figueroa, Izaguirre; Palacios, Guevara (Thomas 65); Alvarez, Nuñez (Martinez 78), Espinoza; Pavon (Welcome 60).

Chile -- Bravo; Isla, Medel, Ponce, Vidal (Contreras 81); Millar (Jara 52), Carmona, Fernandez, Sanchez; Valdivia (Gonzalez 87), Beausejour.

Ref -- E Maillet (Seychelles)

Irish Independent

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