SEVILLE: Morocco’s Sofyan Amrabat (R) vies for the ball with Paraguay’s Derlis Gonzalez during their international friendly at the Benito Villamarin Stadium on Tuesday. Morocco, warming up for the World Cup in Qatar in November, produced an impressive performance but were held to a 0-0 draw.—AFP

PARIS: Brazil’s Richarlison shoots during the international friendly against Tunisia at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday. Richarlison was the target of a banana thrown from the crowd as rampant Brazil destroyed 10-man Tunisia 5-1 with Raphinha scoring twice and setting up another goal in their last game before the World Cup. Neymar moved to within two goals of Pele’s all-time scoring record for Brazil in another dominant performance by the South American giants who beat Ghana 3-0 on Friday, giving their fans plenty of reasons to be excited by their young team heading into Qatar where they will bid for a record-extending sixth world title. Richarlison also found the net, with the Brazilian FA (CBF) releasing a statement ‘vehemently repudiating yet another episode of racism in football’ after a banana was thrown during the goal celebrations, while Pedro scored as a second-half substitute before responding to more boos and missiles from the crowd by bowing in front of them in celebration.—AFP

BRATISLAVA (Slovakia): Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez heads to score during the international friendly against Canada at the Tehelne pole Stadium on Tuesday. Nunez doubled Uruguay’s lead just after the half-hour mark after Nicolas de la Cruz had opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a sublime free kick as Uruguay beat Canada 2-0 in their final friendly before the World Cup. Canada are in Group ‘F’ along with Belgium, Morocco and Croatia while Uruguay face Portugal, Ghana and South Korea in Group ‘H’ at the World Cup, which kicks off on Nov 20 in Qatar.—Reuters

MURCIA (Spain): Kellyn Acosta of the United States (L) challenges Saudi Arabia’s Nasser Al-Dosari during their international friendly at Estadio Nueva Condomina on Tuesday. The two sides wrapped up their World Cup preparations with a 0-0 draw.—Reuters

VIENNA: Qatar goalkeeper Meshaal Aissa Barsham saves a penalty from Chile’s Alexis Sanchez during their international friendly at the Generali Arena on Tuesday. The save allowed the World Cup hosts to hold Chile to a 2-2 draw.—AFP

SANTA CLARA (California): Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa looks on as Colombia’s Luis Sinisterra (third R) heads to score during their international friendly at Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday. Sinisterra scored twice and Wilmar Barrios added another as Colombia, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, fought back from two goals down to beat Mexico 3-2. Mexico are due to play two more friendlies in November before the Nov 20-Dec 18 World Cup in Qatar.—AFP

HARRISON (New Jersey): Argentina’s Lionel Messi shoots to score from a free-kick during their international friendly against Jamaica at the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday. Second-half substitute Messi scored two late goals to cap an emphatic 3-0 win for the South Americans, who have now gone 35 games unbeaten in a streak stretching back to 2019 — just two shy of Italy’s world record unbeaten run of 37 set between 2018 and 2012. Messi came off the bench in the 56th minute and bagged his first of the night in the 86th minute when he drove past several defenders and hammered home before adding his second from the free kick three minutes later. Argentina, who took the lead through Julian Alvarez in the 13th, have one more tune-up against United Arab Emirates on Nov 16 before they begin their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia on Nov 22.—AFP

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

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