Bolivia halted a run of five consecutive defeats to get their World Cup qualifying campaign up and running with a 4-2 victory over Venezuela on Thursday.
Not since their run to the Copa America quarter-finals in June had Bolivia tasted victory, conceding 19 and scoring just one in the dismal run that followed their win against Ecuador in the group stage of that tournament.
But Julio Cesar Baldivieso, who took over as Bolivia coach in August, will be encouraged after his side claimed maximum points in their third qualifying fixture.
Rodrigo Ramallo lifted an effort over goalkeeper Alain Baroja to set the ball rolling in the 19th minute, before Juan Carlos Arce doubled the advantage from the penalty spot.
Mario Rondon pulled one back with a scrappy goal shortly after the half-hour mark, but Bolivia were two to the good once again when Ramallo headed in from a right-wing cross to double his personal tally.
The home side looked to be out of sight when a parry fell kindly for Rudy Cardozo who smashed home, although Richard Jose Blanco’s tidy effort five minute short of the hour kept Venezuela’s slim hopes alive.
And it could have been a nervous finish for Bolivia had Rondon not been flagged for offside after heading home late on to cap a frantic spell in which the visitors also hit the crossbar.
But Bolivia held on for their maiden win of the campaign, while Venezuela, who had Luis Manuel Seijas sent off in stoppage time, remain rooted to the bottom of the table without a point to their name.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!