By Samindra Kunti
October 12 – Brazil have moved top of the South American qualifying group for the Russia 2018 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Venezuela. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Chelsea’s Willian were on target.
Away in Merida, Brazil had top spot up for grabs following Uurguay’s draw with Colombia. The Brazilians took full advantage with a comfortable win against Venezuela. Brazil were without their talismanic player Neymar due to a yellow card suspension from last week’s 5-0 victory against Bolivia.
In wet conditions, a suicidal piece of goalkeeping from Daniel Hernandez allowed Jesus to lob the host’s goalkeeper. After the break Chelsea star Willian ensured the visitors won with a superb finish at the far post. Venezuela tried to mount a recovery and West Brom striker Salomon Rondon sent a header just wide while Alejandro Guerra fired another glaring chance wide.
A floodlight failure caused a delay of 20 minutes, but Brazil weren’t troubled anymore. It was a fourth consecutive win in World Cup qualifying for the Brazilians, gifting new coach Tite a perfect record after taking over from Carlos Dunga. For the first time this campaign Brazil top the table, with 21 points, just one more than second-placed Uruguay.
Brazil have never failed to qualify for a World Cup. Under Dunga they lingered in sixth spot in the table and were in danger of not reaching Russia. This summer the Brazilian FA, the CBF, fired Dunga after disappointing results. Tite was appointed as successor and began his reign with victories against Ecuador and Colombia respectively.
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