Argentina beat rivals Uruguay, Brazil held by Colombia
SAO PAULO, Oct 11: Lionel Messi was among the scorers as Argentina beat rival Uruguay 3-0 on Sunday, hours after Brazil’s run of consecutive wins in South American World Cup qualifying ended in a 0-0 draw with Colombia.
Brazil leads the qualifying competition with 28 points from nine wins and the draw, six points clear of second-place Argentina after 10 matches. Ecuador remains in third spot with 16 points, marginally ahead of Uruguay. Colombia is in fifth place with 15 points.
The top four teams earn direct entry to the World Cup in Qatar next year.
Argentina vs Uruguay
Messi’s team was preparing for a long, tense night at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. Uruguay created most of the best early opportunities, with Luis Suárez hitting the post once.
But a stroke of luck helped Argentina in the 38th minute. Messi gave an overhead pass in an attempt to assist Nico Gonzalez, who failed to touch it. But the ball gently and unexpectedly passed by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, into the right corner.
Luck once more was on the Argentinian side in the 44th. A series of passing mistakes by both teams gave a clear opportunity to Lautaro Martinez on the edge of the box. Lautaro failed to hit it cleanly, but it was enough to move the ball into the path of a Rodrigo de Paul.
In the second half, Messi found de Paul on the right flank, and the midfielder sent a low cross into the penalty box. Lautaro Martinez scored from close range.
Colombia vs Brazil
Brazil had the best opportunities of the encounter and forced Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina to make three key saves. The most important was in the 84th minute in a close range finish by substitute Antony.
Neymar returned to the Seleção after a suspension, but was off pace, missing several passes and running with apparent difficulty. He left the pitch immediately after the final whistle.
Also on Sunday, third place Ecuador lost 2-1 at Venezuela. (AP)