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World Cup qualifiers: Argentina breeze past Peru, Brazil win

November 18, 2020 11:11 IST
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Argentina's Lionel Messi in action with Peru's Luis Abram Ernesto

IMAGE: Argentina's Lionel Messi in action with Peru's Luis Abram Ernesto. Photograph: Benavides/Pool via Reuters

Argentina scored twice in the first half and were unfortunate not to score more in a dominant second as they comfortably beat Peru 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Lima on Tuesday.

Nicolas Gonzalez put the visitors ahead with an angled shot in 17 minutes following incisive work from Giovani Lo Ceslo on the left flank and then Lautaro Martinez doubled their lead 11 minutes later when he ran on to a superb pass from Leandro Paredes and rounded the keeper to slot home.

"From the very start we played a great game, the goals came and we created lots of chances," said captain Lionel Messi.

 

"Happy with the victory, we needed it after the game we played the other day," he added in reference to their 1-1 draw at home to Paraguay last week.

"This is the path we have to keep on going down."

Argentina pressured after the break with goalkeeper Pedro Gallese denying Lucas Ocampos with a great block and Anderson Santamaria intervening in the box to stop Messi from adding a third on the counterattack.

The win extended Argentina's unbeaten run to 11 games and means they stay second in the 10-team South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022, two points behind leaders Brazil.

It also marked the first time since the year 2000 that the two-times world champions have won three consecutive away qualifiers.

Peru's defeat extended their winless run to seven matches under coach Ricardo Gareca, the Argentine who guided them to their first World Cup finals in 36 years last time around in Russia.

Argentina's next two qualifiers are in March, at home to Uruguay and away to Brazil, the only side in the group to have won all four of their matches so far.

The top four teams in the 10-team South American group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

Earlier in the night, Bolivia were denied their first win when Kaku scored with 18 minutes remaining to rescue a 2-2 draw for home side Paraguay in Asuncion.

Bolivia last qualified for the World Cup in 1994 and were 2-1 up at half time but they had to settle for a point that still leaves them bottom of the group.

Brazil beat Uruguay 2-0 to stay top of qualifying group

Brazil's Danilo and Marquinhos in action with Uruguay's Jonathan Rodriguez

IMAGE: Brazil's Danilo and Marquinhos in action with Uruguay's Jonathan Rodriguez. Photograph: Raul Martinez/Pool via Reuters

First half goals from Arthur and Richarlison gave Brazil a 2-0 win away at Uruguay on Tuesday and maintained their 100% record in the South American World Cup qualifiers for Qatar 2022.

Brazil were missing a host of players through COVID-19 and injury, including talismanic striker Neymar, but they were too strong for their opponents, who have not beaten them since 2001.

Arthur got the opener after 34 minutes when his shot from outside the box was cruelly deflected past Uruguayan keeper Martin Campana and then Richarlison glanced a header into the net from a short corner seconds before half time.

Missing Luis Suarez after he tested positive for COVID-19, Uruguay hit the woodwork twice in the first half but their unlucky night was confirmed when the Video Assistant Referee convinced the officials to send off Edinson Cavani for a mistimed tackle on Richarlison at 71 minutes.

Uruguay kept battling and Martin Caceres saw his close shot hit the net with a quarter of an hour left only to be disallowed by the Chilean referee.

The win in Montevideo was Brazil’s fourth in a row in the qualifying stage and ensures they are the only side in the 10-team South American group to have won all of their opening matches.

In the day’s earlier games, six different players got their name on the scoresheet for Ecuador as they dealt Colombia their second successive heavy defeat, crushing their neighbours 6-1 in Quito.

Ecuador, who missed out on Russia 2018, scored four times in the first half and although James Rodriguez got one back from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime, the home side added another two in the second period.

In Caracas, Venezuela picked up their first points thanks to a late Salomon Rondon winner against Chile.

Guillermo Maripan put the home side ahead after eight minutes and although Arturo Vidal got his third goal in two games moments later Rondon’s 81st minute strike gave Venezuela a much-needed win.

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