Brazil vs Uruguay
Raphinha turned in another eye-catching performance for Brazil on Thursday by scoring twice in the home side’s 4-1 victory over Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.
Brazil took the lead after 10 minutes when Neymar chested down a pass from Fred and rounded the keeper before firing low between two defenders on the goal-line.
Raphinha made it 2-0 after 18 minutes when he bundled home a parried shot from close range and then made it 3-0 after 58 minutes, completing a superb counter-attack with an angled shot.
Luis Suarez scored a consolation goal for Uruguay with a 77th-minute free-kick before Gabriel Barbosa restored Brazil’s three-goal cushion with a header seven minutes from time.
“This couldn’t be more memorable for me,” Raphinha said.
“This is me fulfilling my childhood dream. It’s so gratifying to score.”
“It’s going to be very difficult to forget this night.”
Both Neymar and Raphinha could have scored more, with Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera thwarting both in quick succession early in the second half.
It was a measure of Brazil’s superiority that Muslera was Uruguay’s best player on a poor night for the visitors, who have now won only two of their last nine qualifiers.
Brazil are now six points clear in the South American qualifying group, ahead of second-placed Argentina who beat Peru 1-0 on Thursday.
The top four qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.
Also on Thursday, Chile beat Venezuela 3-0 to record their second successive win. Erick Pulgar scored twice in the first half; both off Alexis Sanchez assists, and Ben Brereton made it 3-0 17 minutes from time to lift Chile onto 13 points in sixth place.
Venezuela, who have lost nine of 12 qualifiers, are bottom of the group on seven points, four adrift of Peru.
Peru vs Argentina
Peru missed a second-half penalty in a 1-0 loss to Argentina in Buenos Aires on Thursday, delivering another blow to their hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Trailing to a first-half goal from Lautaro Martinez, Peru had a golden opportunity to level the score when substitute Jefferson Farfan was brought down in the box 19 minutes into the second half as he attempted to round keeper Emiliano Martinez.
However, Yoshimar Yotun’s penalty clipped the bar as the visitors fell to a seventh defeat in 12 qualifiers.
“Those that take penalties are the great players and the rest is luck,” said Argentine goalkeeper Martinez.
The win saw Lionel Scaloni’s side move on to 25 points, three behind leaders Brazil, who are playing Uruguay on Thursday. The top four qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.
Argentina’s Christian Romero had a headed goal disallowed for offside after 10 minutes and Angel Di Maria missed two good chances while Peru’s Gianluca Lapadula squandered an excellent opportunity after skilfully chesting down a cross just metres from goal.
Argentina deservedly took the lead three minutes from half-time when Martinez glanced a header into the roof of the net.
Peru fought valiantly in the second half but there was no way back after the penalty-miss and Argentina had a second goal from Guido Rodriguez ruled out two minutes from time.