Chilean miners play friendly with president

The 33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days underground nearly pulled off another amazing feat after narrowly losing 3-2 to a Government team in a friendly match in Santiago on Monday.

Two weeks after being pulled out of the rubble following the collapse of a mine shaft nearly half a mile beneath the Atacama Desert, each miner was honoured at a presidential palace reception in Santiago before taking part in an 80-minute game against a Government side.

With several former professional footballers in their ranks, the miners, whose team was called Team Esperanza - Spanish for 'Hope' - took an early lead through former Chilean international Franklin Lobos.

But, under the captaincy of Chilean President Sebastien Pinera, the Government team bounced back from two goals down to win 3-2, with Pinera bagging the winner.

"The winners will return to the presidential palace, and the losers will go back down the mine! That was the deal I made with Franklin Lobos. Then we'll rescue them again," Pinera joked.

Despite losing the game, 'Los 33' still went away with a trophy as the men begin to come to terms with their ordeal.

By James Martini