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World Cup Qualifiers: Neymar injured, Brazil's 37-game streak ends

Last updated on: October 18, 2023 12:01 IST

Neymar Jr

IMAGE: Brazil's Neymar is brought off the pitch after sustaining an injury. Photograph: Andres Cuenca/Reuters

Darwin Nunez and Nicolas de la Cruz scored to give Uruguay a 2-0 win over Brazil in their 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday as Neymar was forced off late in the first half after suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Nunez opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with a diving header, and Brazil's night went from bad to worse two minutes later when Neymar went down after tussling for the ball with De la Cruz.


Visibly distressed, Neymar left the pitch on a stretcher after receiving treatment for several minutes.

Brazil FA sources said the forward had sustained a severe left knee sprain and that he would undergo tests to determine if there was ligament damage.

"Let's hope it's nothing serious," Brazil captain Casemiro told Globo television.

"He's an important player for us, we're very fond of him. He's been suffering a lot from injuries and when he starts to pick up the pace he gets injured again."

Brazil had much of the possession in a dour first half but had nothing to show for it, and Uruguay took the lead with the first shot at goal in the match.

Maxi Araujo received a quick throw-in and got in behind Brazil defender Marquinhos before crossing for Nunez to score.

Uruguay remained on top after the break and De la Cruz extended the hosts' lead with a close range effort in the 77th minute, with Nunez providing the assist after winning a challenge against two Brazilian defenders inside the box.

It was Uruguay's first win over Brazil since 2001.

Brazil ended the match with no shots on target and suffered their first defeat in a World Cup qualifier since 2015 after going 37 games unbeaten.

The victory lifted Uruguay to second in the CONMEBOL standings on seven points, level with Brazil and Venezuela, who beat Chile 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Messi double gives Argentina 2-0 win over Peru

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Argentina's Lionel Messi in action. Photograph: Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters

Lionel Messi become the all-time top scorer in South American World Cup qualifying on Tuesday after netting both goals in Argentina's 2-0 win over Peru in Lima.

Messi, who was included in the squad despite having been sidelined in recent weeks with a muscle problem, came on as a substitute in Thursday's 1-0 win over Paraguay but was on the pitch from the start of the game in Lima.

The 36-year-old put the world champions ahead in the 32nd minute with a superb shot after an assist from Nicolas Gonzalez, and made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a fierce finish from Enzo Fernandez's pass.

Messi, who was denied a hat-trick in the second half when he had a goal disallowed for offside following a VAR review, became CONMEBOL's leading scorer in World Cup qualifiers with his double taking his tally to 31, breaking a tie with Uruguay's Luis Suarez.

"This team is incredible, every time they play they are very close to being the best in history," Messi said.

"On a game level I think we have grown. After winning the World Cup we are confident, very loose, more united and firm. Hopefully we can continue to grow," he added.

Coach Lionel Scaloni said Argentina's players were on the same wavelength as Messi, who is planning to retire before the 2026 World Cup.

"The team has understood Messi for a long time, it benefits him and he feels comfortable," he added. "I hope he plays as much as he can because everyone is happy to see him on the pitch."

In other qualifiers on Tuesday, Uruguay beat Brazil 2-0 with Neymar forced to leave the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Venezuela cruised past Chile 3-0, Paraguay beat 1-0 Bolivia and Ecuador draw 0-0 against Colombia.

Argentina, who remain top of the CONMEBOL standings, will host Uruguay on Nov. 16 before taking on Brazil five days later.

Peru face Bolivia and Venezuela in the next round of qualifiers.

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