Ruthless Paraguay crush Chile to top group

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SANTIAGO, Nov 22 (Reuters) Paraguay produced a ruthless performance to beat Chile 3-0 an go top of the South American World Cup qualifying group.

Striker Salvador Cabanas yesterday pounced on poor defending to put Paraguay ahead midway through the first half before defender Paulo da Silva scored with two headers, both from corners, either side of halftime.

Paraguay lead the 10-team group with 10 points from four games. Chile are stuck on four points.

Chile, backed by a 60,000 crowd and inspired by Matias Fernandez in midfield, made a promising start as they pushed Paraguay into their own half.

The hosts created several good chances and looked more likely to score until Paraguay hit them on the break in the 24th minute.

Goalkeeper Justo Villar hoofed a long clearance upfield, the ball bounced once, was headed on by Nelson Haedo Valdez and, as the Chile defence hesitated, Cabanas pounced to open the scoring.

Chile continued to enjoy more possession but Paraguay produced the sucker punch when Da Silva headed in from a corner in the third minute of first-half stoppage-time.

The Mexican-based defender struck again in the 57th minute, rising above the defence to score with a header which Claudio Bravo got a hand to but could not stop.

Cristian Riveros had a potential fourth Paraguay goal harshly disallowed for offside.

REUTERS RAR RK1025

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