Brazil leads qualifying, Argentina defeated
RECIFE, Brazil (AFP) – Robinho scored in the 40th minute and Nilmar netted the winner in the 49th as Brazil seized sole possession of first place in South American 2010 World Cup qualifying by beating Paraguay 2-1.
Paraguay shared the qualifying table lead with Brazil entering Wednesday’s showdown and grabbed a 1-0 in the 25th minute on an own goal by Brazil’s Elano before the five-time World Cup champions battled back for the victory.
Other matches saw host Ecuador upset Argentina 2-0, Chile rise to second in the table with a 4-0 romp over visiting Bolivia, Venezuela and Uruguay play to a 2-2 draw and host Colombia blank qualifying doormat Peru 1-0.
The results left Brazil (7-1 with six drawn) atop the table on 27 points, one more than Chile (8-4 with two drawn) and three ahead of Paraguay (7-4 with three drawn) after the 14th of 18 rounds of matches.
Despite the defeat, Argentina (6-4-4) held onto the fourth and final guaranteed World Cup qualifying spot on 22 points, two points ahead of Ecuador (5-4 with five drawn) and four atop Uruguay (4-4 with six drawn).
The four top teams advance to next year’s global football showdown in South Africa. The fifth-place finisher faces a playoff against the fourth-place team from North American qualifying to decide a World Cup 2010 berth.
Colombia and Venezuela were level on 17 points, one back of Uruguay, with Bolivia on 12 and one-win Peru eliminated from any chance at qualifying for the World Cup.
Manchester United standout Carlos Tevez of Argentina was denied by Argentine-born Ecuador goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga on a penalty kick in the 29th minute, summing up a night of high-altitude frustrations for Argentina.
At Santiago, Chile stayed within one point of the lead by routing Bolivia. Jean Beausejour found the net in the 43rd minute while Marco Estrada followed in the 73rd and Alexis Sanchez added insurance markets in the 77th and 88th minutes.
Uruguay could have moved ahead of Ecuador on goal difference for the fifth spot with a victory at Venezuela but settled for a draw that kept them tight on the heels of qualifying.
Just three minutes later, Jose Manuel Rey found the net with the equalizer and neither club could break the deadlock.
Colombia’s Radamel Falcao Garcia scored in the 25th minute to seal Peru’s fate.
South American qualifying resumes September 5 with Brazil at Argentina the headline clash. Chile will entertain Venezuela while the Uruguayans visit Peru, Ecuador travels to Colombia and Paraguay will play host to Bolivia.