WCQs: Raphinha inspires Brazil comeback, Argentina held

Leeds’ Raphinha made two of Brazil’s comeback goals on his international debut as they recovered to win 3-1 in Venezuela.

Venezuela had never beaten Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in 17 previous attempts but their hopes rose after taking an early lead through Eric Ramirez, who converted Yeferson Soteldo’s cross after defenders Fabinho and Marquinhos slipped at the vital moment.

However, Brazil got back on level terms when Marquinhos headed home a corner in the 71st minute before Gabriel Barbosa scored a penalty six minutes from time and debutant Antony made it 3-1 in stoppage time.

Antony celebrates after scoring his side's third goal
Antony celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal

Raphinha opened up space and hit the corner that led to Marquinhos’ goal, while Vinicius Jnr was instrumental in the build-up that led to Barbosa’s penalty.

Raphinha also set up fellow substitute Antony to tap home just before the final whistle and score on his debut.

South American qualifying

Position Team Points
1 Brazil 27
2 Argentina 19
3 Ecuador 16
4 Uruguay 16
5 Colombia 14
6 Paraguay 12
7 Peru 11
8 Chile 7
9 Bolivia 6
10 Venezuela 4

Argentina failed to score for the first time since June 2019 but a 0-0 draw at Paraguay maintained their unbeaten record in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Messi was mobbed by a pitch-invader at the final whistle
Messi was mobbed by a pitch-invader at the final whistle

Argentina have gone 23 games without defeat under coach Lionel Scaloni and are second in the qualifying group with 19 points.

The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar next year and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional play-off. Argentina were without Lautaro Martinez in attack and with Lionel Messi quieter than usual, the game lacked excitement, especially in the first half.

Lionel Messi featured in Argentina's draw with Paraguay
Lionel Messi featured in Argentina’s draw with Paraguay

The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges but Paraguay grew into the game in the second half and tested Emiliano Martinez in the Argentine goal more often.

Substitute Alejandro Gomez brought out a superb save from Paraguayan keeper Antony Silva with 12 minutes remaining and then at the other end Carlos Gonzalez blazed a cutback over the bar three minutes from time.

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