Brazil, Uruguay romp as Chile crash again

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Brazil and Uruguay scored easy vic­to­ries to main­tain their lead at the top of South Amer­ica’s 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment on Thurs­day as Chile lost ground af­ter crash­ing to de­feat in Ecuador. A vir­tu­oso per­for­mance from Barcelona su­per­star Ney­mar lay at the heart of Brazil’s 5-0 maul­ing of Bo­livia in Natal, with the striker launch­ing the rout with his 49th in­ter­na­tional goal. Ney­mar set up two more as Brazil pro­duced their most stylish per­for­mance of re­cent mem­ory to rat­tle in fur­ther goals from Gabriel Je­sus, Filipe Luis and Liver­pool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Brazil coach Tite, who has now won all three games since tak­ing over from sacked pre­de­ces­sor Dunga, said he had not ex­pected his team to win so im­pres­sively.

“I did not ex­pect this,” Tite said. “The team is work­ing very hard for each other. We are try­ing to play the play­ers in the po­si­tions that they play for their clubs. I be­lieve that is help­ing.”

The only sour note was a nasty look­ing head wound suf­fered by Ney­mar in the sec­ond half fol­low­ing a clash with Yas­mani Duk. The col­li­sion left Ney­mar with blood pour­ing from his head, prompt­ing his sub­sti­tu­tion on 67 min­utes. The win left Brazil sit­ting com­fort­ably in sec­ond place in the 10-team round-robin tour­na­ment, one point be­hind lead­ers Uruguay, who swat­ted aside win­less Venezuela 3-0 in Mon­te­v­ideo. Uruguay have 19 points from nine games, with Brazil on 18 points. Ecuador stand in third place with 16 points fol­low­ing their 3-0 drub­bing of Copa Amer­ica cham­pi­ons Chile in Quito.

World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal­ists Colom­bia are in fourth spot, also on 16 points, af­ter they snatched a dra­matic 1-0 win over Paraguay thanks to a 90th minute strike from Ed­win Car­dona in Asuncion.


Ar­gentina, held 2-2 by Venezuela in their last game in Septem­ber, dropped another two points in their trip to Lima to face Peru. The Ar­gen­tini­ans, miss­ing in­jured cap­tain Lionel Messi, looked to be head­ing for vic­tory af­ter Ever­ton de­fender Ramiro Funes Mori gave the vis­i­tors a de­served lead af­ter 15 min­utes.

How­ever Peru fought back and lev­elled through all-time lead­ing goalscorer Paolo Guer­rero on 58 min­utes.

Ju­ven­tus striker Gon­zalo Higuain re­stored Ar­gentina’s lead with a 77th minute strike but Peru hit back once more, win­ning a penalty when Guer­rero was bun­dled over in the box. Chris­tian Cueva stepped up to ri­fle home the spot­kick past Ser­gio Romero to give Peru a vi­tal point with a 2-2 draw. The draw leaves Ar­gentina in the fifth and fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing spot, level with both Colom­bia and Ecuador on 15 points. The top four fin­ish­ers in the ta­ble qual­ify au­to­mat­i­cally for Rus­sia 2018 while the fifth placed team en­ters a play­off. But the day’s re­sults left clear day­light be­tween Chile and the qual­i­fy­ing po­si­tions, with the back-to­back South Amer­i­can cham­pi­ons suf­fer­ing a maul­ing against Ecuador. Chile were torn apart as Ecuador pro­duced a ram­pant dis­play at the Es­ta­dio Olimpico Atahualpa.

Goals from Manchester United’s An­to­nio Va­len­cia, Ferenc­varos’s Cris­tian Ramirez and Es­panyol’s Fe­lipe Caicedo se­cured the points for the hosts. Chile now have only 11 points from nine games and are five points adrift of the qual­i­fy­ing po­si­tions. Down­cast Chile coach Juan An­to­nio Pizzi gave no ex­cuses for his starstud­ded team’s ab­ject dis­play.

“They were su­pe­rior to us in ev­ery depart­ment,” Pizzi said. “They to­tally over­whelmed us, and won all of the in­di­vid­ual bat­tles. All we can do now is be hon­est give self crit­i­cism and then start think­ing about Peru,” Pizzi added, re­fer­ring to Chile’s next op­po­nents.—AFP

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