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World Cup 2018

Brazil take the points against Colombia thanks to Neymar

A goal from the Barcelona star clinched a vital three points for his national side as they look to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

MANAOSUpdate:
Brazil take the points against Colombia thanks to Neymar
ANTONIO LACERDAEFE

The Arena da Amazônia seethed. Over 40,000 Brazilian fans packed in ready to show their support for a team, and manager, that has given them renewed enthusiasm. In the opposing side was Real Madrid's James - making his 50th appearance for Colombia - but his team failed to keep control, made errors in possession and were duly punished.

It was Neymar who scored the winning goal as Brazil defeated Colombia 2-1 to maintain their 2018 World Cup qualifying resurgence on Tuesday.

Ghosts of the past

Brazil's Neymar celebrates with ex-Barça teammate Dani Alves after scoring against Colombia.
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Brazil's Neymar celebrates with ex-Barça teammate Dani Alves after scoring against Colombia.VANDERLEI ALMEIDAAFP

Barcelona superstar Neymar swept home a 74th-minute strike at Manaus's Arena Amazonia to settle a pulsating encounter between the two rivals. And it was a sweet victory for Neymar, who has unhappy memories from recent encounters with Colombia.

The 24-year-old suffered a tournament-ending injury against Colombia during Brazil's ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign. A year later Neymar was sent off in a stormy battle between the two sides at the 2015 Copa America in Chile, and subsequently banned for four matches.

Neymar's second-half winner came after Brazil had taken the lead in the second minute through Inter Milan defender Miranda, heading home his first ever international goal on his 31st birthday. But Colombia fought back and forced an equaliser when Marquinhos headed into his home net nine minutes before half-time.

Colombia's James Rodriguez, Carlos Sanchez and Carlos Bacca react after an own goal by Brazil's Marquinhos.
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Colombia's James Rodriguez, Carlos Sanchez and Carlos Bacca react after an own goal by Brazil's Marquinhos.VANDERLEI ALMEIDAAFP

Tight at the top

The win saw Brazil move into second place in the overall standings, just ahead of Argentina on goal difference in South America's marathon qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup.

The five-time World Cup winners now have 15 points from eight games, one point behind leaders Uruguay who thrashed Paraguay in Montevideo earlier on Tuesday.

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