Argentina fall to shock home defeat as Brazil move top
Paraguay shocked a Leo Messi-less Argentina side in Córdoba while Brazil beat Venezuela to earn their fourth consecutive qualifying win.
Argentina 0-1 Paraguay
Argentina fell to a surprise 1-0 home defeat against Paraguay on Tuesday night, dropping to fifth in the standings for World Cup qualification in South America. Derlis González gave the visitors the lead in the 18th minute and they held on, boosted by the absence of Leo Messi.
The hosts struggled to plug the gap left by the Barcelona star and even a spirited second-half rally, during which Angel Di Maria had a goal from a free-kick ruled out for a foul and both Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Agüero went close, wasn’t enough to secure a comeback. With Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar in defiant form between the posts, the visitors held on for a battling victory which revives their hopes of snagging one of the qualification berths. Paraguay now sit just behind Argentina in sixth on 15 points.
Venezuela 0-2 Brazil
Brazil powered to the top of the table with a comfortable victory over Venezuela. Goals from Manchester City teenager Gabriel Jesus and Chelsea's Willian secured a 2-0 win in a match interrupted by a lengthy floodlight failure that plunged Merida's Estadio Metropolitano into darkness.
The victory was Brazil's fourth consecutive win of the qualifying campaign and left the five-time world champions on top of the standings with 21 points after 10 games. The win was further proof of Brazil's resurgence under new coach Tite, who took over after Dunga was sacked – for a second time – back in June. It is the first time since qualifying began that Brazil have led the standings and they now look firmly on course to maintain their record of never having failed to qualify for a World Cup.
Colombia 2-2 Uruguay
Meanwhile, previous table toppers Uruguay were held to a 2-2 draw by fourth-placed Colombia in a wet and rainy Barranquilla. Centre-back Yerry Mina headed Colombia's equaliser five minutes from time after goals from Cristian Rodríguez and Barcelona striker Luis Suárez had given Uruguay a 2-1 lead at the Estadio Metropolitano to cancel out Abel Aguilar’s 15th minute opener.
Chile 2-1 Peru
Back-to-back Copa América champions Chile remain outside the qualification places despite their 2-1 victory over Peru in Santiago, a fixture often known as the 'Clasico del Pacifico.'
The home side desperately needed three points to get back on track after a stuttering start to the qualification campaign and Aturo Vidal got them off to a dream start, heading home after just 10 minutes to put Chile 1-0 up. Peru fought back and levelled after 76 minutes when Edison Flores burst clear on the edge of the box to rifle home a low shot but Vidal popped up again with just five minutes left to give Chile the three points. Chile's win leaves them seventh in the standings with 14 points, two points outside of the qualification places.
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