Soccer-Ribeiro's second-half goal gives Brazil 1-0 win over Chile
Chile have won just one of their seven games and face two testing away matches against Ecuador on Sunday and Colombia next week. In the other late game on Thursday, Peru drew 1-1 with Uruguay in Lima.
Chile matched Brazil for most of a bad-tempered match but Ribeiro fired home after 64 minutes to give the visitors all three points. Brazil have won all seven of their qualifiers so far and the five-times world champions are six points clear of Argentina in the 10-team South American group.
The top four qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff. Only five points separate fourth-placed Uruguay from last-placed Venezuela. Brazil’s preparations for the match were thrown into turmoil by some clubs’ decision not to release their players due to concerns over the lengthy quarantine on their return.
Nine players from England did not join the squad as expected and two of those called up in their place from Zenit St Petersburg arrived in Brazil but were recalled to Russia before the Chile game. And while Brazil could still count on the likes of Neymar, Casemiro and Marquinhos they were second best for most of the first half and had goalkeeper Weverton to thank for a series of saves that kept the game goalless.
Coach Tite introduced Ribeiro and Gerson for Vinicius Jnr and Bruno Guimaraes at halftime and Ribeiro justified his inclusion when he seized on a parried Neymar shot to fire home in a packed penalty box. Chile have won just one of their seven games and face two testing away matches against Ecuador on Sunday and Colombia next week.
In the other late game on Thursday, Peru drew 1-1 with Uruguay in Lima. Renato Tapia gave the home side the lead after 24 minutes but Giorgian de Arrascaeta equalised five minutes later for Uruguay.
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