Chile's Arturo Vidal, center above, scores his side's second goal against Peru during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Santiago, Chile, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Brazil leads WCup qualifying group, Uruguay beats Colombia

Brazil leads WCup qualifying group, Uruguay beats Colombia

SAO PAULO — Brazil unconvincingly beat Venezuela 1-0 at home, but that was enough for coach Tite’s team to take the lead in South American World Cup qualifying with nine points from three matches.

The winning goal in Sao Paulo was scored by Roberto Firmino from close range in the 67th minute.

Brazil did not have six players from its original squad for the match, including injured superstar Neymar. They will also be absent for Tuesday’s clash at Uruguay, which earlier beat Colombia away 3-0.

Uruguay is in fourth position after the win in Barranquilla with six points, one behind second place Argentina.

The top four teams will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fifth-place team will go into an inter-continental playoff.

BRAZIL

The Brazilians had four goals disallowed during the match — three for offside reviewed by video assistant referee and one because of a foul.

But that did not hide the flaws of a disorganized team that had lost Neymar, midfielders Philippe Coutinho and Fabinho, and defenders Eder Militão, Rodrigo Caio and Gabriel Menino for the match.

Venezuela defended well during most of the match, but created little risk for goalkeeper Ederson.

The only goal of the match at the Morumbi stadium came when midfielder Everton Ribeiro crossed from the right, left-back Renan Lodi won a head contest with Venezuelan defenders and the ball ended with Firmino, who just pushed it to the net.

Firmino has scored in all three Brazil matches in World Cup qualifiers.

Tite admitted Neymar was deeply missed.

“In one moment he can do something that no one else anticipates,” Tite said. “We were champions of Copa America last year without him, but we still missed him.”

Brazil’s last defeat in South American World Cup qualifiers was at Chile in 2015, but the performance and the absent players gave the impression that record is at serious risk at Uruguay.

Midfielder Allan disagrees, though. “It will be totally different against Uruguay. They will come at us and play, which means they could leave more gaps for us to counter,” he said.

URUGUAY

Uruguay defeated Colombia 3-0 in a match marked by goals from its 33-year-old strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez, and Darwin Nuñez added the third.

Uruguay was without key players including goalkeeper Martín Silva, defender Sebastián Coates, midfielder Federico Valverde, and striker Maxi Gómez.

But a mistake by Colombia defender Yerry Mina in the fifth minute gave Uruguay the lead. Mina lost the ball near his penalty box, Nahitan Nández pounced, and Cavani hit gently from close range, giving no chance to goalkeeper David Ospina.

Colombia missed a chance when Duván Zapata’s header hit the right post.

Uruguay came back through a counterattack. Rodrigo Betancur stopped a Colombia push and fed Suárez. The striker passed it back to Betancur inside the penalty box and the midfielder was brought down by Jeison Murillo. Suárez, the top goal scorer in South American qualifiers, netted his from the spot in the 54th minute.

Nuñez made it 3-0 in the 73rd, and Colombia got into deeper trouble in the last minute when defender Mina was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Colombia dropped to seventh place in the standings. It next plays Ecuador in Quito.

“In the two first goals we made mistakes,” Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz said. “We have to take responsibility. They made fewer mistakes and in soccer that is the team that wins.”

Also on Friday, Chile beat Peru 2-0 with Arturo Vidal scoring in the 20th minute with a screamer from mid-range and in the 35th, just pushing the ball past the line.

The Chileans are now in sixth place with four points. Their next match is at Venezuela on Tuesday. On the same day Peru, in eighth position with only one point, will host second-place Argentina.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta has identified 1,828 new cases and 15 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the provincial death toll to 590. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Drumheller RCMP lay charge for unlawfully distributing cannabis

A joint forces investigation involving the AGLC investigation team partnered with Drumheller… Continue reading

Three weapons have been seized and four people are facing charges following a police operation in central Alberta. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
RCMP, Lacombe Police seize loaded guns, arrest four people

Four people have been arrested and multiple prohibited firearms are off the… Continue reading

The Salvation Army's 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign includes a new $5 tap feature for pandemic-friendly donations. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Salvation Army officers safe, touchless options for Kettle donation this year

The Salvation Army in Red Deer needs help. Kettle donations are needed… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes' Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan (3) and Mexico's Jacqueline Ovalle (11) battle for the ball during a CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying soccer match Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Edinburg, Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Delcia Lopez
Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris celebrates his touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first half of the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Running back Andrew Harris, who was instrumental in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ending their Grey Cup drought in 2019, tops the CFL team's list of potential free agents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

24Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet (23) goes up for a shot agains the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.. Watching Connor McDavid let a slapshot fly or Fred VanVleet sink a deep three can be a salve to the soul of a sports fan run down by the difficult realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark J. Terrill
Bubbles are best: experts say return of sports risky as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Bubbles are best: experts say return of sports risky as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall (10) scrambles past Texas State's Nico Ezidore (95) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in San Marcos, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chuck Burton
BYU presents tough challenge for Chanticleers, Canadian Makonzo this weekend

BYU presents tough challenge for Chanticleers, Canadian Makonzo this weekend

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, arrives at B.C. Supreme Court to attend a hearing, in Vancouver, on Friday, November 27, 2020. The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to comment on media reports that its lawyers are seeking a plea deal of sorts with Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PM won’t confirm reports U.S. Justice Department seeking plea deal with Meng Wanzhou

PM won’t confirm reports U.S. Justice Department seeking plea deal with Meng Wanzhou

Alek Minassian is shown in a handout photo from his LinkedIn page. A psychiatrist retained by the defence will testify for a fifth consecutive day today at the trial for the man behind Toronto's van attack. Dr. Alexander Westphal says Alek Minassian does not truly understand the moral wrongfulness of killing 10 people, but says criminal responsibility is a legal opinion, not a psychiatric one. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
‘I know what I did was morally wrong,’ Alek Minassian told psychiatrist, court hears

‘I know what I did was morally wrong,’ Alek Minassian told psychiatrist, court hears

A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

Most Read