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Retaken Neymar penalty helps Brazil maintain perfect WC qualifying start

Brazil move four points clear in South American qualifying with 2-0 win over Ecuador.

Neymar celebrates with Lucas Paqueta after sealing Brazil's victory.
Neymar celebrates with Lucas Paqueta after sealing Brazil's victory.
Image: Andre Penner

NEYMAR SCORED A retaken penalty as Brazil maintained their perfect start to South American World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win over Ecuador last night.

Richarlison had given Brazil the lead on 64 minutes and Neymar sealed the win deep into injury time, but only after another VAR farce.

Referee Alexis Herrera initially gave a free-kick against Gabriel Jesus after contact between him and Angelo Preciado in the Ecuador area five minutes from time.

But after an interminable four-minute VAR review, he changed his mind and awarded a penalty.

Neymar stuttered in his run-up but Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez wasn’t fooled and easily saved his weak shot.

Ecuador were then down the other end attacking when Herrera blew his whistle and brought the game back for encroachment by Dominguez.

Neymar retook the penalty and this time sent Dominguez the wrong way.

The slapstick ending could not mask a deserved victory for Brazil, who now top the qualification table by four points from unbeaten Argentina, with Ecuador third, two points further back.

Brazil travel to Paraguay on Tuesday while Ecuador host Peru, before the Copa America is scheduled to begin in Brazil on 13 June.

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© – AFP, 2021

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