Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador continued their positive starts to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifiers by each maintaining their 100-percent records on Matchday 2 to break clear at the top of the table.
Another side to win on Tuesday were Brazil, who recovered from their opening-day defeat with a home win over Venezuela. In the day’s other game Paraguay and Argentina played out a goalless draw, a result that left La Albiceleste without a win in their first two qualifiers for the first time in 46 years.
FIFA.com rounds up Tuesday’s events in the CONMEBOL Zone.
*Peru 3-4 Chile
Jefferson Farfan 10, 36, Paolo Guerrero 90 (Peru); Alexis Sanchez 7, 44, Eduardo Vargas 41, 49 (Chile)
Chile have developed a happy knack of winning and claimed their latest scalp in a spectacular *Clásico del Pacífico, edging neighbours Peru in a seven-goal thriller to make it six points out of six so far in the qualifiers. Though aided in their task by Christian Cueva’s first-half dismissal, the visitors were nevertheless impressive, with Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas their stand-out performers with two goals apiece. The Arsenal man also teed up Vargas for his second goal, his 25th for La Roja, with all but two of them having come under Jorge Sampaoli. After showing plenty of character in recovering from Sanchez’s early strike to take the lead themselves through Farfan’s first-half brace, the depleted Peruvians were unable to match the pace set by the in-form visitors.
*Uruguay gave another characterful display at the Estadio Centenario, easing to a 3-0 defeat of Colombia to make it two wins out of two, without having conceded, the first time they have made such a start since the round robin format was adopted. Goals from Diego Godin, Diego Rolan and Abel Hernandez proved too much for Jose Pekerman’s side, who ended a man down when Juan Cuadrado was sent off. La Celeste seem to have the measure of Colombia, having now beaten them in four of their last five meetings in the preliminaries.
Miller Bolanos and Felipe Caicedo were the men on target as Ecuador stayed perfect with their ninth victory in ten qualifiers against Bolivia, who wore red for the first time in their history. Gustavo Quinteros’ men were made to work for their 2-0 win, withstanding a first-half downpour before converting their superiority into goals with two late strikes.
Brazil got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-1 defeat of Venezuela at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Dunga’s side producing a convincing display that sent their demanding fans home happy. Willian scored twice to settle the hosts’ nerves, with Ricardo Oliveira adding a third after Christian Santos had pulled one back for La Vinotinto. The victory maintained A Seleção’s proud record of never having lost a home World Cup qualifier, a run that now stretches to 48 games, 37 of which have ended in victory.
Argentina remain winless and goalless following a 0-0 draw against Paraguay in Asuncion, a result that at least gave them their first point of the campaign. La Albiceleste *fashioned several chances but failed to take any of them, undermining an otherwise impressive display against a combative *Albirroja side that battled for every ball but struggled to create openings of their own.
Under pressure to win after their false start against Chile, Brazil had their nerves soothed in the very first minute when the Chelsea man struck with firm drive, a goal that was *A Seleção’s *200th in World Cup qualifiers. Not content with that, Willian doubled his side’s lead on the stroke of half-time following a fine team move, one of the highlights of an encouraging performance by the Brazilians.
*Did you know?
*This is only the second time in the history of the qualifiers that Argentina have failed to win either of their two opening matches, the first having come in the preliminaries for Mexico 1970, the only World Cup for which La Albiceleste have failed to qualify. Their three other world-finals absences (France 1938, Brazil 1950 and Switzerland 1954) were due to their decision not to take part.
What they said
“When you walk into the dressing room and you see the players with tears in their eyes, it says a lot about their patriotism, love for the jersey and what they feel about the game. We didn’t deserve to lose today but you need goals to win football matches,” Bolivia coach Julio Cesar Baldivieso.
*Matchday 2 results
*Ecuador 2-0 Bolivia
Uruguay 3-0 Colombia
Paraguay 0-0 Argentina
Brazil 3-1 Venezuela
Peru 3-4 Chile