Brazil 2-0 Ecuador
The Brazilians remain perfect in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers as they defeated Ecuador 2-0 in Porto Alegre last Friday evening.
Richarlison opened the scoring for the Selecao 20 minutes into the second half and then Neymar added one late to secure the victory.
The result means that Brazil are in firm control of the top spot of the CONMEBOL standings since they have 15 points which is four points clear over Argentina, who were held to a stalemate by Chile yesterday.
Ecuador, on the other hand, are still steady at third even with the defeat and they are also favoured by the World Cup 2022 odds to book their spot in Qatar next year since the top four teams in the section will qualify automatically and the fifth-seeded team goes into an intercontinental play-off.
Overall, it was a lacklustre outing for La Tri but they shouldn’t feel too down on themselves since Brazil clearly have the edge talent-wise which showed in this fixture.
Let’s recap last night’s match by examining the latest World Cup 2022 highlights here at SBOTOP.
Highlights of the game
Brazil were dealing with issues off the pitch prior to this match and that showed early on due to their lack of sharpness.
With Brazil being given the rights to host the upcoming Copa America, some of their stars mulled about protesting by sitting this one out as their country’s COVID-19 situation is worsening by the day.
In addition, Neymar had an injury scare during his stay at the team hotel yesterday following a collision with a couple of rowdy fans who slipped as they ran towards him chasing for his autograph.
However, Neymar looked spry as he generated Brazil’s first chance of the match via a spot-kick after a back-and-forth during the first 20 minutes, which drew a routine save for Alexander Dominguez.
Neymar once again lobbed another free-kick in an attempt to find a teammate for a score six minutes later, but Ecuador’s defence did just enough to prevent another chance.
Just before the end of the first half, Brazil found the back of the net as Gabriel Barbosa slid the ball past Alexander Dominguez after a low drive from Neymar but the goal was disallowed for offside upon VAR review.
After a subpar first half, Brazil kicked things up a notch and they would finally shatter the deadlock four minutes after the hour mark.
Neymar found Richarlison in a lovely through-ball and the Everton striker launched a shot that was too hot to handle for Alexander Dominguez at the front post.
The Brazilians looked rejuvenated after that goal and a couple more chances were created as they tried to double their lead.
Gabriel Jesus came off the bench and drew a save from Ecuador’s goalkeeper during the 71st minute, and it was followed up by two brilliant efforts from Gabriel Barbosa but to no avail.
The Manchester City striker eventually drew a penalty in injury time as he was brought down by an Ecuadorian defender.
Neymar’s first penalty attempt was saved but he was allowed to retake the kick after the referee saw Alexander Dominguez moved off his line before the ball was struck.
The 29-year-old hitman made no mistake the second time around and he calmly finished to confirm Brazil’s 2-0 victory.
Ecuador had a three-game winning streak coming into this match but it was snapped by Brazil simply because they were the better team.
The Selecao were aggressive on the offensive end particularly in the second half, and that resulted to 16 total shots with seven of them on target. Meanwhile, Ecuador had only three total with none of them on target.
With five straight wins, Brazil have now won their first five opening games in a World Cup qualifiers campaign for the first time since qualifying for Mexico in 1970.
Brazil and Ecuador have a very busy schedule with the Copa America just around the corner.
Tite’s boys are set to square off against Paraguay in their sixth World Cup 2022 qualifiers match next Wednesday, while Gustavo Alfaro’s side will host Peru on the same day.
The Copa America will kick off on June 14 and both of these clubs are going to play four games in 14 days. Brazil, who are the tournament favourites once more, get to host Venezuela first while Ecuador lock horns against Peru on opening night.