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November 19, 2009

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Chile surprises, easy for Brazil

ESTEBAN Paredes scored early in the second half to give Chile a 2-1 friendly win over fellow World Cup qualifiers Slovakia on Tuesday which earned lavish praise from the opposing coach.

"At times it seemed like we were playing Barcelona," Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss told reporters in Zilina, Slovakia. "They don't let you get near the ball.

"They are excellent tactically. They are a magnificent team with a magnificent coach (Marcelo Bielsa)."

Chile is more likely to spring a surprise in next year's finals in South Africa as the home team was often made to look slow and lumbering.

Defender Gonzalo Jara thumped the visitors ahead from close range after nine minutes before Slovakia equalized against the run of play with a header by Stanislav Sestak eight minutes later.

Chile should have gone back in front before halftime and had to wait until the 56th minute before Fabian Orellana's cross found Arturo Vidal at the far post and he headed the ball to Paredes who scored from close range.

Bielsa was, typically, more downbeat than his opposite number.

"It seemed to me to be a satisfactory performance and the players reached the approved standard," said the former Argentina coach. "There were situations where I imagined we were going to end up creating more danger to the opposition than we eventually managed to."

In Muscat, Brazil rounded off a very good pre-World Cup year with a lackluster 2-0 win over Oman to take their tally to 14 victories in 17 matches.

Striker Nilmar opened the scoring in the fourth minute and Oman midfielder Hassan Ghailani headed into his own goal just past the hour.

Playing with the same team that beat England 1-0 in Doha on Saturday, the Copa America and Confederations Cup holders dominated possession but were denied several chances by Omani goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

"It's always good to score goals, to play, to get opportunities (in the national team). I'm trying to make the most of it," the 25-year-old Nilmar, who was standing in for the injured Robinho.

Brazil's victories this year included beating world champion Italy twice, Argentina, Uruguay and England.


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