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September 14, 2000
Chile beat Morocco 4-1The Rediff Team
The focal point of this game had to be -- and was -- Ivan Zamorano. As his name was read out, a huge cheer went up around the ground, a testimony to his popularity. And in the event, the Chilean skipper obliged his fans with two strikes in the first session to put Morocco heavily behind at the halfway mark.
Adel Chbouki was the first to contribute to Morocco's misery, with a vicious foul in the sixth minute that earned him a red card. This meant that Morocco had to work overtime, with just ten minute, to contain an assured Chilean lineup.
The first thirty minutes of play were marked by equal exchanges, with Morocco holding its own and Chile seemingly content to wet its feet slowly, and ease itself into the game. All that changed in the 36th minute, when Pizaro weighed a made-to-measure cross to Navia, who in turn headed to Zamorano.
Shielded by a marker, set up for an offside trap, Zamorano showed great skill, and perfect timing, in slipping the trap, eluding his marker, and rising to head in, for Chile's first goal.
The goal appeared to have angered the Moroccans, who responded with some violent football. Sooner or later, that tactic had to create problems -- and it did, when Kharbouch brought down Pizarro well inside the danger zone inside injury time. The penalty was whistled for, Zamorano took it, and converted with easy assurance to take Chile in, at the break, on 2-0 and seemingly in control of the game.
The second session began with two fine moves inspired by Kharbouch, but on both occasions, his striking partners shot wide or high. Elmoubarki then launched into a solo, leaving two Chilean defenders scrambling in his wake before the third pushed the ball over the line for a corner that, in turn, proved abortive.
These early signs of a Moroccan surge, though, met with instant repraisals from Chile. Unwilling to fall back on defence, the Chileans counter-attacked vigorously and superstar Ivan Zamorano sent the crowd into a frenzy with his first goal of the session, to complete the 'trick. Navia latched onto a long ball, ran to the right corner flag, then chipped back in for the onrushing Zamorano to anticipate perfectly and slam home.
From then on, it was Chile all the way, Elmoubarki being the only Moroccan to trouble the winners with his dangerous runs. Zamorano continued to torment the Moroccan defence with his quicksilver runs and elusiveness. One such run saw him being brought down, inside the box, by Moroccan substitute Elassas. Zamorano could have taken the resulting penalty kick, but left it to Navia to do the honours and round off the tally.
In the 80th minute, Morocco earned some consolation with a goal against the run of play. A free kick outside the box saw Safri produce a dipping effort for Ouchla, on as substitute, to head into the right corner of the net.
The Moroccans tried to increase the pressure, with the tireless Elmoubarki turning in a standout performance. Lack of partners of sufficient skill, though, nullified his best efforts, and Chile went out 4-1 winners, turning in an opening performance that hightens their credibility as serious medal prospects.
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