2022 WC qualifiers: Firmino nets winner as Brazil maintain perfect start

On target
Roberto Firmino, left, celebrates with Gabriel Jesus after scoring the winner. Photo: AFP
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Sao Paulo: Brazil required an untidy second half goal from Roberto Firmino to beat Venezuela 1-0 and extend their 100 per cent record to three wins from three in a lacklustre World Cup qualifier here on Friday.

The five-time world champions scored nine goals in their last two games but they struggled from the start against a resilient Venezuela, the only one of the 10 South American sides never to have qualified for the World Cup finals.

Richarlison had Brazil ahead in the seventh minute only for the goal to be chalked off for offside.

The winner eventually came from Firmino midway through the second half when he was well-placed to push the ball home from close range after a defensive header fell at his feet.

Brazil top the table with nine points from three matches followed by Argentina (7).

Uruguay's Edinson Cavani scored early and fellow striker Luis Suarez converted a second-half penalty, his fourth in three games for his country, as they beat Colombia 3-0.

Cavani got the opener in the fifth minute after Nahitan Nandez had done the hard work in midfield by robbing the ball and setting him up to fire home a low right-foot shot.

Suarez then added to the lead nine minutes into the second period when he scored from the spot after Jeison Murillo brought down Rodrigo Bentancur.

Darwin Nunez completed the scoring after 73 minutes when his pot shot from 25 metres beat the diving David Ospina.

Yerry Mina was sent off for Colombia after a second yellow card in the final minute of the game to complete a miserable afternoon for the home side.

Suarez's goal was his 63rd international strike and came after he scored twice from the penalty spot in Uruguays 4-2 loss to Ecuador and once in their 2-1 win over Chile in their opening qualifier last month.

The victory takes Uruguay to six points after three games, while Colombia, who beat Venezuela and drew away to Chile in their first two games, have four.

Chile beat Peru 2-0 in another match.

The top four sides in the 10-team South American group qualify automatically for the Qatar 2022 finals and the fifth-placed team go into an inter-regional playoff.

The results: Brazil bt Venezuela 1-0; Colombia lost to Uruguay 0-3; Chile bt Peru 2-0.

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