SANTIAGO, Chile: SANTIAGO, Chile — Argentina, which had scored only two goals in its first four South American World Cup qualifiers, scored that many in the first 24 minutes Thursday in a 2-1 victory over Chile.
Argentina improved to eight points in five matches with a strong victory over Chile, which won last year’s Copa America — the continental championship.
Argentina was the runner-up in the 2014 World Cup, but has been below par qualifying for Russia in 2018.
Felipe Gutierrez scored for Chile in the 10th minute, but Angel di Maria leveled in the 19th and Gabriel Mercado got another five minutes later.
It was a bad start in qualifying for new Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli.
Ecuador, the leader in South American qualifying, salvaged a 2-2 draw with Paraguay on Angel Mena’s equalizer in second-half stoppage time. Ecuador improved to 13 points in five matches. Paraguay improved to eight, happy to get away with a point at 2,850 meters (9.350 feet) in Quito.
Enner Valencia gave Ecuador a 1-0 lead in the 19th, but Dario Lezcano scored the next two in the 37th and 58th to give Paraguay hope of a victory.
In La Paz, Bolivia, Edwin Cardona scored in second-half stoppage time to give Colombia a 3-2 victory over Bolivia.
Colombia improved to seven points and Bolivia stayed near the bottom of the standings with three.
James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca scored first half goals, but Bolivia rallied in the second half as Colombia got tired in the thin air in La Paz located 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level. Juan Arce and Alejandro Chumacero scored, before Cardoza netted the winning goal for the visitors.
Raul Ruidiaz scored in second-half stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw for Peru at home to Venezuela. A first-half penalty from Romulo Otero and Mikel Villanueva’s 57th minute strike gave the visitors a 2-0 lead before Paolo Guerrero reduced the deficit in the 61st.
Uruguay play away to Brazil on Friday in the northeastern city of Recife.