Chilean win bittersweet

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:30 PM ET

EDMONTON - They, much like a large portion of the local Chilean community, were up bright and early tuning into the World Cup Wednesday morning.

However, for a couple of members of the visiting Colo-Colo soccer club, watching Chile defeat Honduras 1-0 in South Africa to claim their first victory at the event in 48 years, was bittersweet.

Roberto Cereceda and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida were hoping to be part of the Chilean national team taking part in the showcase tournament. Both were named to the country’s provisional 30-man roster prior to the competition, but both were left off the final 23-man roster.

“Yeah, I watched the game,” said Fuenzalida. “I thought they played very well, they dominated the majority of the game. They had a lot of opportunities, unfortunately they lacked a little bit of finish. It would have been nice if they were able to finish off a few more of their chances.

“But I’m confident in their abilities moving forward.”

Cereceda, did not want to talk about the national team, open to discuss any other subject during his team’s visit.

Cereceda’s wounds are still fresh, having suited up 10 times for Chile during qualifying, but he was still left off the team competing at the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

Instead of being in South Africa, the two are in Edmonton training with their club in preparation for Sunday’s exhibition encounter against FC Edmonton (4 p.m.) at Commonwealth Stadium.

Colo-Colo, the most successful club team in Chile, was invited by the local upstart professional team to spend a couple of weeks in town to prepare for the resumption of their season, interrupted by an earthquake and the World Cup. They currently lead their league standings with three games left to play.

“It was a little tough to watch the game (Wednesday) morning, but I’m backing the national team,” said Fuenzalida, who has made seven appearances for the Chilean national team. “It’s too bad that I couldn’t be there, but that’s the situation, and now I’m left to cheer on the team like everybody else.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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