Chile too hot for Honduras
Beausejour the hero for South Americans
Last Updated: 16/06/10 3:07pm
Chile celebrate their winner
Chile got their Group H campaign off to a winning start with a deserved 1-0 win over Honduras at Mbombela Stadium.
Jean Beausejour scored the only goal of the game after 38 minutes to give Chile their first World Cup victory since 1962.
Honduras struggled to have any impact on the game with Chile dominating for long proceedings and only poor finishing from the South Americans spared them a heavy defeat.
Chile missed a host of chances to make the game safe with Waldo Ponce somehow missing from just six yards out after he saw his second-half header kept out by Honduras keeper Noel Valladares.
Honduras actually suffered a blow before their first World Cup fixture in 28 years as experienced midfielder Cesar de Leon was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury.
Fortunately for coach Reinaldo Rueda, he still had time to replace him in his squad with Jerry Palacios, brother of Tottenham's Wilson and the defender Johnny.
That made Honduras the first team to feature three brothers in a World Cup squad but Jerry was not present for the opener.
Honduras were without key striker David Suazo due to a leg injury while his namesake Humberto, top scorer in South American qualifiers, similarly failed to make the Chile line-up.
Chile made the running from the outset on the part-natural, part-artificial surface and earned a free-kick after two minutes which Matias Fernandez fired narrowly over.
Honduras goalkeeper Valladares then had difficulty handling a swerving long-range shot from Arturo Vidal and Jorge Valdivia saw a powerful effort deflected for a corner.
With Rueda watching from the stands due to a touchline ban, Honduras did not create a chance of note until 17 minutes when Carlos Pavon dragged a shot wide.
Chile continued to attack and pieced together some neat one-touch moves.
Honduras managed to repel a series of raids but were finally caught out when the impressive Alexis Sanchez played in Mauricio Isla and he pulled back across goal for Beausejour to slide in.
Sanchez had another opportunity before the break but Valladares parried while Honduras ended the first half with Ramon Nunez forcing Claudio Bravo to tip over a free-kick.
Chile threatened again straight from the restart with Sanchez playing in Beausejour after a tricky run but Wigan's Maynor Figueroa produced a fine tackle.
Udinese forward Sanchez burst into the box himself after another menacing run but sidefooted wide.
Chile should have doubled their lead after 64 minutes when Vidal headed a Fernandez free-kick into a six-yard box free of defenders but Ponce stooped to head straight at Valladares.
Valdivia did put the ball in the net 15 minutes from time but Sanchez had clearly handled after Valladares beat out a long-range shot.
Chile maintained the pressure up to the final whistle but were unable to find the second goal their enterprising play deserved.
FIFA World Cup Group A
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FIFA World Cup Group C
FIFA World Cup Group D
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FIFA World Cup Group F
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FIFA World Cup Group G
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FIFA World Cup Group H