Colombia and Bolivia triumphed at home against Venezuela and Peru, respectively, in the seventh qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup, reports Efe.
Brazil, playing their first match under newly-appointed coach Tite, climbed to 12 points, one behind second-place Ecuador, who have earned only one point in their last three matches. Neymar, who secured a historic gold for Brazil in the Rio Olympics, broke a scoreless deadlock in the 72nd minute on Thursday.
Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 in the 87th minute and added another goal in stoppage time.
In La Serena, Chile, Messi’s deflected strike was enough for Argentina to scrape past Uruguay and make it five straight home wins over their neighbours in the World Cup preliminaries.
Messi finally got Argentina on the board after 42 minutes. After taking a nice touch to settle the ball at the top of the box, he shifted around and got an effort towards the goal that hit off Jose Gimenez and found the back of the net.
Argentina then managed to keep their historic rivals at bay despite being at a numerical disadvantage for the whole second half following Paulo Dybala’s sending-off on the stroke of half-time.
Lionel Messi’s triumphant Argentina comeback has been tempered by a hint he may not be fit to play in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Venezuela.
Messi, who had gone back on his decision to quit the team following their Copa America final defeat in June, scored the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Uruguay on Thursday that sent Argentina to the top of the South American group.
However, the Argentina captain said he had a groin pain and had to think about his fitness at the start of a busy season for his national side and his club Barcelona.
Colombia defeated Venezuela 2-0 in Barranquilla riding on goals by James Rodriguez and Macnelly Torres. Rodriguez opened the scoring just at the stroke of half time and set up Torres’ goal in the 81st minute winnng it.