Santiago - Chile scored a 1-0 win Wednesday against Argentina in Santiago to establish solid credentials to reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Paraguay beat Peru 1-0 in Asuncion to stay on course as the clear leader in the South American qualifiers.
Fabian Orellana scored the only goal in Santiago in the 35th minute. Chile had all the clear scoring chances, and Argentina played poorly despite fielding superstars Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.
With a tireless, well-rounded team effort and great midfield work from Matias Fernandez, Chile at all times appeared in command.
"They were better than us, and they beat us deservedly," Argentine coach Alfio Basile said.
He noted that "everything worked out" for Chile, and he could only go "weep in church" about the poor performance.
Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo acknowledged the importance of beating a global football giant like Argentina but emphasized the practical significance of "three points that help you get to a World Cup."
Argentine commentators unanimously noted that Chile had deserved an even wider margin in their first-ever win over Argentina in World Cup qualifiers.
"The (goal) difference should have been greater. The (Argentine) national team did not shoot on the rival goal," the Argentine daily La Nacion wrote in its online edition.
Earlier Wednesday, Paraguay beat Peru 1-0 to keep up their torrid pace in the qualifiers.
In Asuncion, Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo scored in the 81st minute, following a series of rebounds in the Peruvian box.
Runaway leaders Paraguay now have 23 points from 10 games in the qualifiers. Argentina, Chile and Brazil follow on 16 points, though the latter has a game in hand.
Venezuela-Ecuador and Brazil-Colombia were to be played later Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Bolivia were held to a 2-2 home draw by Uruguay.
In South America's 10-team World Cup qualifiers, each side plays each of the other nine teams at home and away.
The top four win a place in the World Cup. The fifth-place team has a chance to advance through a playoff against a representative of the North, Central American and Caribbean region.
A break in the qualifying round will follow Wednesday's games, with the next matches scheduled for late March. (dpa)