• Friday, December 01, 2023
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CONMEBOL Qualification: Neymar injured as Uruguay stun Brazil 2-0

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-18 at 07.16.55

Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez and Nicolas de la Cruz goals gave Uruguay a convincing 2-0 win over Brazil in their 2026 World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday as Neymar suffered what appeared to be a severe knee injury.

The win also ended Seleção eight-year, 18-match unbeaten run in away FIFA World Cup qualifiers. It was Uruguay’s first win over Brazil since 2001.

Nunez opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with a diving header, and Brazil’s night went from bad to worse two minutes later when Neymar went down after tussling for the ball with De la Cruz.

Brazil’s frustration was matched by the crowd’s anxiety going into the closing stages of the game, but a second Uruguay goal allowed Marcelo Bielsa’s side to breathe easier. The visiting defence didn’t deal with a long throw into the box as they allowed Núñez to twist and turn before prodding the ball into the path of Nicolás de la Cruz, who gleefully slammed the ball into the net to double the hosts’ advantage.

It’s been a hugely disappointing international break for Brazil, with this defeat coming off the back of a laborious home draw with Venezuela in their previous outing. Victory for Bielsa’s men leapfrogs them over the Brazilians into second place in the group, as a two-match winless streak in World Cup qualifying was emphatically ended.

Brazil FA sources said the forward had sustained a severe left knee sprain and that he would undergo tests to determine if there was ligament damage.

“Let’s hope it’s nothing serious,” Brazil captain Casemiro told Globo television.

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“He’s an important player for us, we’re very fond of him. He’s been suffering a lot from injuries and when he starts to pick up the pace he gets injured again.”

Brazil dominated possession in the first half but failed to convert their chances, and Uruguay took the lead with the first shot at goal in the match.

Maxi Araujo received a quick throw-in and got in behind Brazil defender Marquinhos before crossing for Nunez to score.

Uruguay remained on top after the break and De la Cruz extended the hosts’ lead with a close-range effort in the 77th minute, with Nunez providing the assist after winning a challenge against two Brazilian defenders inside the box.

Brazil ended the match with no shots on target and suffered their first defeat in a World Cup qualifier since 2015 after going 37 games unbeaten.

The victory lifted Uruguay to second in the CONMEBOL standings on seven points, level with Brazil and Venezuela, who beat Chile 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi scored a brace to fire Argentina atop the log with 12 points after dispatching Peru 2-0 at the Estadio Nacional de Lima in Venezuela.

Paraguay earned their first win in the South American qualifiers as they beat bottom side Bolivia 1-0 in Asuncion, while Ecuador were held 0-0 by Colombia.