Brazil fight back to beat Venezuela, preserve winning start

Published October 9, 2021
CARACAS: Brazil’s Gabriel Barbosa (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Venezuela during their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the UCV Olympic Stadium.—AFP
CARACAS: Brazil’s Gabriel Barbosa (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Venezuela during their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the UCV Olympic Stadium.—AFP

MONTEVIDEO: Brazil fought back from a goal down to score three times in the second half and record a 3-1 win over Venezuela that maintained their 100% record in qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.

Venezuela had never beaten Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in 17 previous attempts but their hopes rose after taking a shock early lead in Caracas through Eric Ramirez, who converted Yeferson Soteldo’s cross after defenders Fabinho and Marquinhos slipped at the vital moment.

However, Brazil got back on level terms when Marquinhos headed home a corner in the 71st minute before Gabriel Barbosa scored a penalty six minutes from time and debutant Antony made it 3-1 in stoppage time.

It was a complicated match, we started well below (the level) we are accustomed to,” Marquinhos said after Brazil’s ninth win in nine qualifiers.

It’s hard to get a result but results are what count. The second half performance and the result are the positives we take from it.”

The Selecao, who have 27 points, extended their lead in the single South American qualifying group to eight points over unbeaten Argentina, who drew 0-0 in Paraguay.

Argentina, who have gone 23 games without defeat under coach Lionel Scaloni, were without Lautaro Martinez in attack and Lionel Messi was not enough for them to break Paraguay’s powerful defensive line in Asuncion.

The two goalkeepers, Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez and Paraguay’s Antony Silva, were the best on the pitch.

I think we had some good moments,” said Argentine defender Nicolas Tagliafico. “We maybe struggled to control the game. There were times when Paraguay came at us and were dangerous. I think we made their goalkeeper one of the game’s best players.”

Brazil and Argentina have both played nine matches after their clash in September was suspended after seven minutes due to Covid-19 protocols.

Ecuador and Uruguay have 16 points after 10 matches, but the Ecuadorians have more wins and hold third place after a 3-0 win against Bolivia in Guayaquil.

All goals in the match came between the 14th and the 19th minutes; the first with Michael Estrada and then two by Enner Valencia.

Hours earlier the Uruguayans had been held to a 0-0 draw in Montevideo with Colombia, who are in fifth place with 14 points, two ahead of Paraguay in sixth.

Peru beat Chile 2-0 in Lima, leaving the visitors third from bottom with seven points from 10 games, above only perrenial strugglers Bolivia and Venezuela.

Christian Cueva scored after 36 minutes and Sergio Pena made it 2-0 in the second half as Peru maintained their hopes of qualifying for a second consecutive World Cup. Peru have 11 points and are seventh in the 10-team table.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2021

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