Eduard Bello’s incredible equaliser in the 85th minute gave Venezuela a rare draw against Brazil, but Argentina, the reigning world champions, defeated Paraguay 1-0 to make it three wins from three in South American World Cup qualification.
World Champions Argentina made it three wins from three in South American World Cup qualifying on Thursday with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a determined Paraguay, while Venezuela secured a rare draw away to Brazil thanks to a remarkable equaliser from Eduard Bello in the 85th minute. Chile defeated Peru 2-0, Ecuador earned their first points with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Bolivia, and Uruguay rallied for a 2-2 draw with Colombia thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Darwin Nunez.
Following Lionel Messi’s substitution in the second half and two misses at the woodwork, Nicolas Otamendi’s goal in the third minute proved to be sufficient for Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina.
Though they have only once, in 2009, lost to the Vinotinto in World Cup qualifying, Brazil has never lost to Venezuela in a serious match. However, they were left disappointed by Bello’s outstanding late equaliser.
In the 49th minute, Gabriel, an Arsenal defender, rose at the near post to angle home a beautiful header from a corner that was taken by striker Neymar, giving Brazil the lead.
Wilker Angel missed a header from a corner kick in the 62nd minute due to a more daring strategy used by Venezuela as a result of the goal.
Next, Rodrygo was in a wonderful position inside the box, but the winger for Real Madrid sent a shot that went straight into the side net.
When Bello leapt acrobatically to blast a magnificent overhead kick past Ederson with five minutes remaining, Jefferson Savarino’s cross stunned the home crowd in Cuiaba.
With two points ahead of Colombia and two behind Argentina, Brazil now sits in second place among the ten qualifying teams.
Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, began the match on the bench with Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez leading the assault. It was inevitable that his battle for full fitness would take centre stage as Argentina attempted to preserve their 100% record.
When Rodrigo De Paul cornered the ball, Otamandi, a seasoned defender, met it with a beautiful volley at the back post to spark an attacking spark.