Paraguay cruise past Slovakia

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Paraguay are in sight of the second phase of the World Cup after goals from Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros gave them a 2-0 victory against Slovakia in Group F.

It was just the result coach Gerardo Martino was looking for after the draw with reigning world champions Italy in their opening game.

Vera made the breakthrough in the 27th minute after a spell of sustained pressure at the Free State Stadium. Paraguay then squandered a number of good chances to extend their advantage before Riveros added a second with five minutes to go.

It is Slovakia's first appearance in the finals and they are heading for an early exit. The team's only effort of note came in stoppage time when substitute Filip Holosko's shot was turned over the bar by goalkeeper Justo Villar.

Paraguay dictated the pace from the start and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz, who returned after a minor injury, came close to scoring twice.

The South Americans were having the majority of possession and Paulo Da Silva was only inches away from making contact at the back post following a free-kick by Claudio Morel.

Paraguay's pressure paid when Lucas Barrios released Vera and he got the better of Jan Durica to hook the ball home.

Slovakia tried to step up the tempo at the start of the second half but Paraguay looked well in control.

Vera should have scored his second goal of the game in the 72nd minute following a swift counter attack. However he steered a header wide in front of the posts following a cross and some good skill from Santa Cruz, who was unhappy at some of his treatment from Liverpool's Martin Skrtel.

Paraguay extended their advantage in the 85th minute when Da Silva played the ball into Riveros and he curled a shot into the corner.

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Manchester City
Paulo Da Silva
Premier League
Roque Santa Cruz
Martin Skrtel

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