Chile beat Argentina, Brazil held

RIO DE JANEIRO - South American powers Brazil and Argentina failed to fire in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday, while Paraguay cemented its place at the top of the standings.

Chile's Humberto Suazo (right) vies for the ball with Argentina's Nicolas Burdisso during their FIFA World Cup South Africa-2010 qualifying match at the National Stadium in Santiago on Wednesday. Chile defeated Argentina 1-0. [Agencies]

Brazil played out a scoreless draw with struggling Colombia, failing to win at home for the third straight match.

Fans booed the players off the field and loudly jeered Brazil coach Dunga, who was in danger of losing his job after another disappointing home result.

The five-time world champions also endured scoreless draws against then-last-place Bolivia last month and Argentina in June.

In what has become a sad ritual, the home crowd shouted "Ole" when Colombia had possession in the second half, jeered coach Dunga and filed out of the Maracana stadium before the end.

Kaka blamed the 15-hour journey home following Sunday's 4-0 win away to Venezuela in San Cristobal, western Venezuela, for Brazil's lethargy.

"I don't exactly know the reason but our team felt the fatigue and we weren't fast enough," he said. "I don't like to make excuses but the journey took its toll. There are other reasons but the journey was certainly one of them."

Forward Robinho was crest-fallen after being substituted and insulted by the crowd in the second half.

"I didn't play well, I was bad, I didn't manage one dribble or shot on goal," the Manchester City player told reporters. "I wasn't the player I always hope to be.

"We are a long way from what we could be, from the Brazilian football which has always been strong in attack."

Dunga, who fielded three tackling specialists alongside Kaka in midfield, was defiant, pointing to his team's comfortable position in the 10-team South American qualifying group.

"We are in second place and I think this is all a bit exaggerated," he snapped. "Of course we didn't play well but we need to be a little more balanced, it seems as if we are last.

"The opponents managed to mark our team and nullify our attack by closing up. We couldn't penetrate the Colombian defence."

Brazil remained second in the 10-team South American standings, six points behind leader Paraguay which beat Peru 1-0. Argentina and Chile share third place on 16 points.

Uruguay has 13 points, ahead of Ecuador on 12, Colombia on 11, Venezuela on 10, Bolivia on 9 and Peru with 7. The top four will automatically qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Fabian Orellana scored on debut at Santiago to give Chile its first win over Argentina in official competition. Chile had previously beaten Argentina only in friendlies, and the last was in 1973.

Orellana, a striker with the local Audax Italiano side, scored in the 35th minute with a 12m shot off a cross from defender Gary Medel.

At Asuncion, Paraguay, substitute midfielder Edgar Benitez gave Paraguay a 1-0 win over Peru.

Benitez scored in the 81st minute when a corner caused a scramble for the bouncing ball in the box and Oscar Cardozo deflected to Benitez to score.

Benitez joined the squad only last week for the injured Roque Santa Cruz, and replaced Jonathan Santana 20 minutes before he scored.

Venezuela defeated Ecuador 3-1 to break a four-game losing streak in qualifying.

Isaac Mina put Ecuador ahead in the 11th minute, but as the second half began Venezuela's attack improved before 14,000 screaming fans at General Jose Antonio Anzoategui Stadium in the coastal city of Puerto La Cruz.

Striker Giancarlo Maldonado equalized in the 49th. Nine minutes later, Alejandro Moreno slipped a loose ball past goalkeeper Jose Cevallos for a 2-1 lead.

Juan Arango split the defense in 67th and sent a left-footed blast into the upper right corner to seal Venezuela's third win in 10 matches, and first since last November.