Jesus saves Brazil in Ecuador
There was an impressive win for Brazil over Ecuador in the South America’s 2018 World Cup qualifying race in the thin air of Quito, which is situated a dizzying 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level.
Brazil had never won a qualifying game in the Ecuadoran capital before, but two goals from teenage prodigy Gabriel Jesus and a penalty from Neymar handed the five-time world champions a 3-0 victory.
Jesus, the 19-year-old who signed for English side Manchester City from Palmeiras in August, was outstanding, underscoring his status as the brightest talent in Brazilian football.
Jesus won the penalty for the first goal after bursting into the area and drawing a foul from Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
Neymar duly converted before Jesus doubled Brazil’s lead three minutes from time with a sublime flicked finish from Marcelo’s low cross to make it 2-0.
Jesus, who like Neymar had played in Brazil’s gold medal-winning Olympic football campaign, then added a third in stoppage time with a crisp finish into the top corner.
The win left Brazil in fifth place overall in the standings with 12 points from seven games.
In other matches on Thursday, Colombia defeated Venezuela 2-0 in their port city stronghold of Barranquilla.
Goals from Real Madrid star James Rodriguez and Macnelly Torres secured the points for Colombia, who would have won by more had it not been for two missed penalties in the final 10 minutes.
The win leaves Colombia level with Ecuador and Uruguay on 13 points, just behind leaders Argentina.
Paraguay meanwhile are level on 12 points with Brazil after scoring a stormy 2-1 win over South American champions Chile in Asuncion.
Oscar Romero and Paulo da Silva fired Paraguay 2-0 up after only nine minutes before Arturo Vidal pulled a goal back just before half-time.
A fractious second half ended with Chile defender Gary Medel being sent off in the closing stages as Paraguay held on.
In the day’s other game, Bolivia defeated Peru 2-0 in La Paz.
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