Brazil thrash archri­vals Ar­gentina

Brazil, Uruguay march to­wards 2018

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MONTEVIDEO: Brazil thrashed arch-ri­vals Ar­gentina to tighten their grip on South Amer­ica’s 2018 World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign on Thurs­day as Uruguay main­tained their push to­wards the fi­nals with a hard-fought de­feat of Ecuador. Barcelona su­per­star Ney­mar out­shone club-mate Lionel Messi with his 50th in­ter­na­tional goal for Brazil in Belo Hor­i­zonte as the five-time World Cup win­ners romped to a 3-0 win in the Es­ta­dio Mineirao. It was a sweet re­turn to the venue for Brazil, who were hu­mil­i­ated 7-1 at the same ground by Ger­many in the semi-fi­nals of the 2014 World Cup.

Ney­mar’s land­mark strike was sand­wiched by a spec­tac­u­lar ef­fort from Liver­pool’s Philippe Coutinho and a sec­ond-half fin­ish from China-based mid­fielder Paulinho. The win was a re­mark­able fifth con­sec­u­tive qual­i­fy­ing vic­tory un­der the reign of new coach Tite, who took over fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Dunga in June af­ter Brazil’s Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario de­ba­cle, when they failed to ad­vance from the group stage. Brazil now have 24 points from 11 games, one clear of sec­ond-placed Uruguay who have 23 points.

The Brazil­ians are six points clear of third-placed Colom­bia and seven points clear of Ecuador and Chile, who are level on 17 points af­ter 11 games. Ar­gentina mean­while are lan­guish­ing out­side the qual­i­fy­ing places in sixth with 16 points. The two-time world cham­pi­ons-who have taken just two points from their past four qual­i­fiers-now face a cru­cial game at home to Colom­bia next Tues­day which they must win to avoid fall­ing fur­ther off the pace. “We’re down but we’re still alive,” Ar­gentina cap­tain Messi said. “We have to for­get the sit­u­a­tion we’re in and start think­ing about Colom­bia. If we get a re­sult against Colom­bia it will make things look a lot dif­fer­ent.”

Ar­gentina man­ager Edgardo Bauza mean­while ad­mit­ted he had not ex­pected to lose so heav­ily. “It’s a hard de­feat. I did not think we would lose 3-0, I thought it would be an even game,” Bauza said. “But when they got their sec­ond it was all over.” Uruguay mean­while stayed firmly on Brazil’s shoul­der with a 2-1 de­feat of Ecuador at Montevideo’s Es­ta­dio Cen­te­nario.

The Uruguayans took the lead on 12 min­utes when for­mer Liver­pool de­fender Se­bas­tian Coates bun­dled in a cor­ner from close range for his first in­ter­na­tional goal. Es­panyol striker Felipe Caicedo then rounded off a sweep­ing Ecuador coun­ter­at­tack to equal­ize just be­fore half-time. But Uruguay re­sponded im­me­di­ately, Diego Rolan stab­bing home a low fin­ish on the stroke of half-time to re­store the home side’s lead.

In­jury scare for Bravo

Else­where Thurs­day, Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario cham­pi­ons Chile had cap­tain and goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo to thank for a hard-earned point in a 0-0 draw against Colom­bia in Bar­ran­quilla. The Chileans, miss­ing in­jured Arse­nal star Alexis Sanchez, needed two su­perb saves from Bravo to keep Colom­bia at bay in a gritty game played in swel­ter­ing con­di­tions. But Bravo’s dis­play was tem­pered by an in­jury which forced the Manch­ester City goal­keeper off the field mid­way through the sec­ond half.

Bravo had ear­lier pro­duced two fine blocks to deny Os­car Murillo and Miguel Borja as Colom­bia were strug­gled to break the dead­lock. Colom­bia’s Ar­gen­tinean coach Jose Pek­er­man be­moaned a lack of pre­ci­sion in front of goal but was buoyed by the re­turn of tal­is­manic striker Radamel Fal­cao, who was in­tro­duced as a half-time sub­sti­tute. “We tried ev­ery­thing and we had chances but we lacked pre­ci­sion,” Pek­er­man said. “But the most im­por­tant fact of the game was the re­turn of Fal­cao.” In other games, Paraguay suf­fered a 4-1 maul­ing against Peru in Asun­cion to de­rail their qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign.

Paraguay took an early lead through Cris­tian Riveros af­ter nine min­utes but Peru hit back with sec­ond-half goals from Chris­tian Ramos, Edi­son Flores, Chris­tian Cueva and an Edgar Ben­itez own goal to run out con­vinc­ing win­ners. Paraguay coach Fran­cisco Arce at­tempted to put a pos­i­tive spin on his team’s loss. “We’re still in the race to qual­ify,” Arce said. “We don’t think we’re dead, we just need to pick our­selves up and get on with it,” he added. Paraguay, who are two points out­side the qual­i­fy­ing po­si­tions, face Bo­livia away in their next game. Venezuela mean­while scored their first win of the qual­i­fiers with a 5-0 thrash­ing at home to Bo­livia, with Josef Martinez scor­ing a hat-trick.

BELO HOR­I­ZONTE: Ar­gentina’s Lionel Messi (cen­ter) is marked by Brazil’s Thi­ago Silva (right) dur­ing their 2018 FIFA World Cup qual­i­fier foot­ball match in Belo Hor­i­zonte, Brazil, on Novem­ber 01, 2016. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.