Football PIX: Brazil score five against Bolivia


IMAGE: Brazil’s players celebrate after Philippe Coutinho scored the fifth goal against Bolivia at Neo Quimica Arena in Sao Paulo, on Friday. Photograph: Amanda Perobelli – Pool/Getty Images

Roberto Firmino scored twice and Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho also got goals as Brazil hammered Bolivia 5-0 in their opening World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo on Friday.

 

Brazil had never lost a World Cup qualifier at home, a run that stood at 54 matches going into Friday’s game, and they never looked in danger of losing that record.

Marquinhos put the home side 1-0 up with a header after 16 minutes before Firmino scored after 18 and 49 minutes, both times by getting on the end of low crosses into the penalty box.

Brazil were rampant down the flanks and the Bolivian defence had little answer to the crosses of Renan Lodi and Everton and the dangerous midfield promptings of Neymar, who was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet.

IMAGE: Marquinhos celebrates after scoring the first goal for Brazil. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The fourth came after 66 minutes, when a glancing touch from Rodrygo deflected off defender Jose Maria Carrasco’s shoulder and Philippe Coutinho completed the rout with a header seven minutes later.

Bolivia, who last qualified for the World Cup finals in 1994, started with an inexperienced side under a torrential rain at Corinthians’ Neo Quimica Arena and had just one shot on target compared to Brazil’s 10.

The top four teams in the 10-team South American group qualify directly for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

Brazil now travel to Lima to face Peru on Tuesday, while Bolivia are at home the same day to Argentina, who opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday.

Colombia overrun Venezuela with three first-half goals

IMAGE: Luis Muriel, right, celebrates after scoring Colombia’s third goal with teammate Duvan Zapata against Venezuela at Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla, Colombia. Photograph: Raul Arboleda-Pool/Getty Images

Colombia scored three goals in a superb first half to beat Venezuela 3-0 and get their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign off to an impressive start at home in Barranquilla.

Venezuela are the only side in South America never to have reached the World Cup finals and they showed why in a disastrous opening 45 minutes at a fan-free stadium on Colombia’s coast.

Duvan Zapata put the home side 1-0 up after 16 minutes when he slid in and finished off a delicious low cross from Juan Cuadrado.

His Atalanta teammate Luis Muriel made it two nine minutes later when he scored with a first-time shot from 10 meters out.

IMAGE: Andres Ponce of Venezuela kicks the ball against Colombia’s Wilmar Barrios. Photograph: Amanda Perobelli – Pool/Getty Images

Muriel then got Colombia’s third just seconds before the half time whistle, when he completed a rapid counterattack.

Colombia took their foot off the pedal in the second-half minutes but Venezuela could make no impact and neither side could add to the scoreline in a calmer second 45 minutes.

The top four teams in the 10-team South American group qualify automatically for the finals in Qatar in 2022 and the fifth-placed side will go into an inter-regional playoff.

Venezuela face Paraguay at home in their next game on Tuesday, while Colombia go to Santiago to play Chile the same day.

African champions Algeria win to stretch unbeaten run

African champions Algeria maintained their two-year unbeaten run with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in the Austrian Alps on Friday on a busy night of international football for African countries.

Mali upset Ghana 3-0 in their meeting in Turkey, Morocco beat Senegal 3-1 at home while Cameroon held Japan to a goalless draw in their friendly in the Netherlands.

There were also wins for Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritania and Tunisia.

Rami Bensebaini’s sixth-minute goal, scrambled home from a corner, was enough to ensure victory for Algeria in Sankt Veit an der Glan, where Nigeria are hosting a week-long training camp.

Algeria have now gone 15 games without defeat over the last two years, including winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

They are among a host of African countries who have decamped to Europe for the international window to play friendlies ahead of next month’s resumption of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

With the bulk of many teams’ squads drawn from players based at European clubs, it has been easier to play the games in Europe than in Africa amid COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Mali scored through captain Hamari Traore after three minutes, with El Bilal Toure and Amadou Haidara adding second-half goals as they upset a strong Ghana side, including new Arsenal signing Thomas Partey, in Antalya, Turkey.

Senegal had to do without talisman Sadio Mane, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as they went down 3-1 in Rabat to Morocco.

Morocco used Hakim Ziyech as a second-half substitute despite Chelsea’s new signing having yet to make his debut for his club because of an early-season injury.

Burkina Faso enjoyed a one-sided 3-0 victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo with new Aston Villa signing Bertrand Traore among the scorers.

Assan Ceesay scored the only goal as the Gambia upset Congo 1-0 in their friendly played in Portugal while Mauritania won 2-1 at home against Sierra Leone.

Tunisia were 3-0 home winners against Sudan while Kenya beat a home-based Zambia side 2-1 in Nairobi.

The games were the first played by African countries since last November.



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