World Cup Recap - Slovakia vs. Paraguay|
(Sunday, June 20th)
Final Score: Paraguay 2, Slovakia 0
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - Enrique Vera scored in the first
half and Cristian Riveros tallied a second goal with four minutes remaining,
leading Paraguay to an easy 2-0 win over Slovakia in Group F of the FIFA World
Cup on Sunday at Free State Stadium.
Paraguay moved into first place in the group with four points after two games,
while the other game in the group on Sunday saw New Zealand earn a stunning
1-1 draw with Italy, leaving those two teams level on two points with Slovakia
having earned only one.
"We played the perfect game. We scored early, we defended well and then we
killed the game off at just the right time," Paraguay defender Paulo da Silva
said. "We've taken a very big step and we've almost achieved our major
objective. Against New Zealand we need to go in with the same attitude if we
want to win. Qualification is in our hands now."
Group F wraps up Thursday, when Paraguay plays New Zealand and Slovakia takes
Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz delivered the first chance inside five minutes off
a 19-yard shot at the left corner that Slovakia goalie Jan Mucha pushed wide.
The South American side followed with three chances in a five-minute span from
Riveros, Nelson Valdez and Lucas Barrios, but only Riveros' shot forced a save
Paraguay moved in front a few minutes after the barrage of chances, as Barrios
and Vera combined for the opener following a turnover in Slovakia's end in the
Barrios sent a pass from the top of the penalty area through a defender's legs
to Vera, who drove a first-time shot with the outside of his right foot past
the keeper just before a tackle from Slovakia's Jan Durica.
Santa Cruz had one last chance for Paraguay before the break, but Mucha made a
fine save with his foot to keep his lifeless side within one goal at halftime.
Slovakia remained invisible through the opening 25 minutes of the second half,
and Paraguay played more defensively until creating the first chance after the
break in the 72nd.
Santa Cruz drove into the left side of the area and delivered a cross to Vera,
who snapped a powerful header from 14 yards that whizzed just wide of the left
Paraguay substitute Aureliano Torres followed with a speculative effort in
the 77th that floated harmlessly over the crossbar, then Riveros doubled the
lead just over 10 minutes later to seal the victory.
From a free kick into the area, the ball bounced to Paulo Da Silva and he sent
a short pass to Riveros at the edge of the box. Riveros fired from 18 yards,
finding the left side of the net in the 86th.
Slovakia capped its forgettable effort with its lone shot on goal two minutes
into stoppage time, but Paraguay goalie Justo Villar pushed the ball over the
bar to earn his shutout.
"I really don't know what our problem is," Slovakia midfielder Miroslav Stoch
said. "We are making a lot of mistakes, especially at the back. We knew they
would be a difficult side to beat but we couldn't make enough openings."
06/20 12:31:36 ET