Claudio Borghi’s reign as Chilean manager began with an impressive 1-all draw against Leiria in the first of two European based friendlies for the national side. And it was a former Borghi protégé who grabbed the spotlight for the visitors as it was a stupendous Matías Fernández free kick just before half time that everyone talking after the game.
Still in the post-coital afterglow following the departure of Marcelo Bielsa it was always going to be interesting to see how Borghi’s team differed from his predecessor. Essentially Borghi sent out a a 3-4-1-2 formation with a back three of Pablo Contreras, Waldo Ponce and Gonzalo Jara that relieved Gary Medel of his central defensive duties as he sat alongside Arturo Vidal as two holding midfielders. Playing on either side of these two were Carlos Carmona on the left and Mauricio Isla on the right. Completing the midfield quintet was Matías Fernandez who theoretically sat in the hole behind a front two of Jean Beausejour and Alexis Sánchez.
Whilst it may have looked like a 3-4-1-2 often Sánchez played alone as an out-and-out striker as Beausejour struggled to get into the game and was replaced by Gonzalo Fierro midway through the second half. That was one of only two changes made by Borghi for the match as Fabián Orellana replaced Isla late on in the piece.
It was la roja’s Failure to deal effectively with a Nani corner that lead to the opening goal as Silvestre Varela ghosted in at the back post after a flick on by a Chilean defender to put the home side ahead after only sixteen minutes. In what was a pretty entertaining first half both teams created plenty of chances with the aforementioned Beausejour missing out on a golden opportunity to bring his side level not long before Matías Fernandez blasted home a free kick from more thirty metres out with five minutes to go in the first half.
The second half was pretty much a stalemate with both teams creating a few chances but none of them really that clear cut as Portuguese manager Paulo Bento made five changes to his side in the second half in preparation for their upcoming midweek Euro 2012 qualifier. Next up for their opponents is a friendly against South American counterparts, Colombia in Holland on Tuesday.
Portugal 1-1 Chile