THE DAY REPLAYED: Uruguay eased to victory over Paraguay and made the most of Argentina’s draw in Venezuela to retake the lead in the South American qualifying competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
The other side to make a significant move on Matchday 8 were Brazil, who edged out Colombia at home to climb up to second place in the table, ahead of the Argentinians and Colombians, who complete the four automatic qualification places.
Ecuador, who went down to a Peru side in desperate need of points, lie fifth. Neither Chile, who were held to a draw at home by Bolivia, nor Paraguay could take advantage of the Ecuadorians’ latest slip-up and remain outside the qualification places. FIFA.com rounds up Tuesday’s action.
Match of the day
Brazil 2-1 Colombia
BRA: Miranda 2, Neymar 74; COL: Marquinhos 36 o.g.
Despite failing to sparkle, Brazil recorded a second consecutive win under new coach Tite and moved into the thick of the battle for the automatic qualification places. Miranda’s early goal pointed to a comfortable night for the hosts, though Colombia had other ideas and pulled level in fortunate fashion.
The visitors pushed for a winner, but it was Brazil who claimed it, with Neymar scoring with a left-footed drive to give A Canarinha their first qualifying win over Los Cafeteros since 2003, when they recorded a 2-1 win en route to Germany 2006. The result ended a run of three straight victories for the Colombians in the competition, though they remain in the top four.
Uruguay reclaimed top spot in the table with an impressive showing against Paraguay. La Celeste were three goals to the good at the break, thanks to strikes from Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and Cristian Rodriguez. Cavani scored a second after the restart to complete an emphatic win for the Uruguayans and take to four the number of games they have gone without defeat to La Albirroja in World Cup qualifying matches. Los Charrúas also maintained their perfect record at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, where they have scored 11 goals in winning all four of their games to date and have yet to concede.
Argentina needed a second-half revival to scrape a point against Venezuela in Merida. Juan Pablo Anor and Josef Martinez had the Vinotinto fans out of their seats with goals either side of half-time, only for Lucas Pratto and Nicolas Otamendi to pop up and secure a 2-2 draw for the visitors. It was only the second time that La Albiceleste have managed to come from two goals down to earn a point in a qualifying match, the first having come in 2001, when they drew 3-3 with Bolivia in La Paz.
Chile and Bolivia failed to find the target in a goalless draw in Santiago that does neither of them much good. La Roja have now gone three games without a win at home, their worst run in the qualifiers since the Germany 2006 campaign, when they went winless in Santiago for five games. Their biggest concern at the moment, however, is that they lie outside the qualification places. The Bolivians are also well out of the picture, but can at least console themselves with the fact that they avoided a seventh straight qualifying defeat to the Chileans.
In the day’s final game, Peru registered a vital 2-1 defeat of Ecuador in Lima. Christian Cueva, from the penalty spot, and Renato Tapia were the men on the scoresheet for the hosts, who had gone winless in their previous four Russia 2018 qualifiers. Gabriel Achilier headed home in between times for the Ecuadorians, who have collected one point from their last four games and have lost their last three, their first such run in World Cup qualifiers since 2007. Michael Arroyo’s sending-off completed a miserable night for La Tri.
Player of the day
Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
El Pistolero had an evening to remember against Paraguay. As well as setting up Cavani for his brace, Suarez won a penalty that he converted for his second goal of the Russia 2018 campaign. It was a strike that took the Uruguayan level with Marcelo Salas as the second-highest goalscorer in the history of South American qualifying competitions with 18, just one behind former Argentinian front man Hernan Crespo.
Did you know?
Argentina usually struggle when Lionel Messi is absent, and they did so again against Venezuela in Merida. La Albiceleste have won all three of their games in which Lío has appeared in the current campaign. In the other five games without him, however, they have collected only six points, registering a win, three draws and a defeat.
What they said
Importantísima victoria para seguir firmes en este camino! pic.twitter.com/y15gf4y0F6
— Diego Godín (@diegogodin) September 7, 2016
“A massive win that keep us right on track!”
Uruguay captain Diego Godin reacts to his side’s handsome victory over Paraguay.
Matchday 8 results
Uruguay 4-0 Paraguay
Venezuela 2-2 Argentina
Chile 0-0 Bolivia
Brazil 2-1 Colombia
Peru 2-1 Ecuador