Brazil scored twice in the last four minutes to cap a comfortable 4-0 win over Paraguay in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Belo Horizonte.
Leeds forward Raphinha endured a successful yet frustrating night as he had a goal ruled out and struck the post after firing Brazil into a 28th-minute lead.
Philippe Coutinho double the hosts’ lead just after the hour before Antony made it three four minutes from time and Rodrygo notched his first international goal to seal a comprehensive Brazil victory.
The defeat ended Paraguay’s hopes of qualifying for Qatar 2022 and further cemented Brazil’s position as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in December.
Brazil top the South American qualifying group with no defeats in 15 games and the win extended their unbeaten home record in World Cup qualifiers to 61 matches.
Paraguay, who have yet to win any of their first five games under coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, are second from bottom of the 10-team group with 13 points from 16 games.
Colombia clinging on
Colombia will need a miracle to qualify for the World Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Argentina in South American qualifying on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi was absent due to Covid but Argentina, which have already qualified for Qatar 2022, did not miss him as Lautaro Martinez scored the only goal of the match in Cordoba in the 29th minute after being given the freedom on the penalty area by the Colombia defence.
Colombia sit seventh in the World Cup qualification table with 17 points.
Uruguay, Chile stay in hunt
Uruguay and Chile recorded crucial wins to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive on Tuesday night.
In Montevideo, Uruguay scored three times in the first half as they hammered bottom side Venezuela.
New Tottenham signing Rodrigo Betancur, Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani put the hosts three up at the break.
Luis Suarez had a penalty saved three minutes into the second half but scored after being allowed to retake the kick to make it 4-0.
Josef Martinez got one back for Venezuela after 65 minutes but it was too little too late for a team whose qualification hopes were long dead.
In La Paz, a double from Alexis Sanchez helped Chile beat Bolivia 3-2 to stay in the hunt for World Cup qualification.
On a heavy pitch in the Bolivian capital, Sanchez put Chile ahead after 14 minutes, but Marc Enoumba equalised eight minutes before half-time for the home side.
Marcelino Nunez restored Chile’s lead after 77 minutes and Sanchez added a third with four minutes remaining. Bolivia’s top goalscorer Marcelo Martins pulled one back two minutes later but Chile held on for a vital three points.
Ecuador on cusp of qualifying
Ecuador moved a point closer to a guaranteed spot in Qatar thanks to a 1-1 draw with Peru.
A win would have guaranteed Ecuador a place in November’s finals with two games remaining, but Edison Flores scored a second-half equaliser for Peru to cancel out Michael Estrada’s second-minute opener in Lima.
The Ecuadoreans are still favourites to join Brazil and Argentina. They sit third in the South American group with 25 points, three ahead of Uruguay and four ahead of Peru.