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Today, 10:26 AM

Brazil 3 Paraguay 0: Tite's men poised for World Cup as Neymar stars



Neymar was in fine form as Brazil virtually booked their spot at next year's World Cup with a 3-0 win at home to Paraguay.

Wearing the captain's armband for the first time since March last year, Neymar dazzled after scoring his 52nd international goal in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring 10 minutes prior to the break at Arena Corinthians, combining with Paulinho, before Neymar added a second in the 64th minute after missing a second-half penalty.And Marcelo sealed a ninth successive victory for Tite's CONMEBOL leaders with four minutes remaining.

Unbeaten since Tite replaced Dunga after last year's Copa America Centenario - keeping seven clean sheets during that run - Brazil moved nine points clear in the South American standings as Uruguay faced Peru in Tuesday's late fixture.

Brazil were forced into one change for the visit of Paraguay, with full-back Dani Alves suspended following last week's 4-1 win in Uruguay. Fagner replaced the Juventus star.

Francisco Arce brought in Rodrigo Rojas, Hernan Perez and Derlis Gonzalez for Victor Caceres, Dario Lezcano and Juan Iturbe after Paraguay edged Ecuador 2-1 last time out.

Neymar was a clear target for Paraguay during the early exchanges, fouled on several occasions but the star man dusted himself off and got on with the job, almost setting up the opener in the sixth minute following a teasing delivery to Paulinho.

Paraguay impressed defensively and in attack, refusing to allow Brazil time on the ball and the visitors should have taken the lead seven minutes later when Gonzalez moved through on goal after some sloppy play from Miranda but the Dynamo Kiev forward scuffed his shot.

Brazil finally broke Paraguay's stubborn resistance 10 minutes before the break via Coutinho. After checking inside and playing a neat one-two with Paulinho, the Liverpool star guided the ball beyond Antony Silva from the top of the penalty area.

The hosts came out all guns blazing in the second half and almost doubled the lead in the 49th minute but Paulinho was unable to add to last week's hat-trick - firing his volley wide of the post.

A sliding Neymar then collided with the post, wasting a golden opportunity after being picked out by Coutinho.Neymar was in the thick of the action again moments later after winning a contentious penalty but his spot-kick was easily saved by Silva.

But Neymar eventually made up for his penalty miss just past the hour-mark. After dazzling his way through Paraguay's defence, his shot beat Silva, albeit with some help from a deflection as he moved within three goals of Romario for third place in Brazil's all-time goalscorers list.


Full-back Marcelo capped the result with a delicate lofted effort over Silva with the outside of his boot in the closing stages.
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Today, 10:28 AM

Peru 2 Uruguay 1: Hosts heap more misery on Suarez and Co.



Peru kept their World Cup qualifying hopes alive with an impressive 2-1 victory against slumping Uruguay on Tuesday.Barcelona star Luis Suarez returned from suspension but not even his presence for Uruguay in Lima could prevent a third consecutive qualifying defeat.

Uruguay made a dream start through Carlos Sanchez in the 30th minute but it went downhill from there as Paolo Guerrero restored parity four minutes later before Edison Flores completed the comeback just past the hour-mark against the struggling visitors.

Substitute Jonathan Urretaviscaya saw red with a quarter of an hour remaining in a forgettable international debut to compound Uruguay's woes.Uruguay remain third in the CONMEBOL standings, 10 points adrift of Brazil, while Peru are seventh - four points behind Argentina, who occupy the play-off position.

Peru named almost an identical team to the one that drew 2-2 at Venezuela last week, with Miguel Araujo coming in for Christian Ramos the only change to Ricardo Gareca's team.

Uruguay welcomed back two star players to the fold. Suarez and Fernando Muslera returned after serving suspensions in the 4-1 loss at home to Brazil. Diego Rolan and Martin Silva dropped out. Jorge Fucile, Jose Gimenez and Alvaro Gonzalez were also named at the expense of Gaston Silva, Sebastian Coates and Egidio Arevalo.

Peru did not look like a side who had lost their past four matches against Uruguay - the country's last win against Oscar Tabarez's men coming back in September 2009.

Led by Guerrero, Peru pressed Uruguay and threatened in attack as the veteran forward controlled the ball inside the penalty area with Muslera closing in but he was unable to steer his volley into the net.While Peru pushed forward, it was Uruguay who took the lead on the half-hour mark.

After flashing a shot wide of the post earlier in the match, Sanchez found the back of the net. Suarez battled for possession and managed to get the ball to the 32-year-old, who fired his shot into the ground and over Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Uruguay's lead was short-lived, however, after Guerrero equalised in the 34th minute. The big forward outmuscled Diego Godin before tucking his shot under Muslera.

That shifted the momentum in favour of Peru, who emerged from the break on the front foot and Uruguay struggled to contain the lively hosts.

Alberto Rodriguez saw his effort tipped over the bar, while Flores stepped away from two challenges and rocketed a shot just wide of the post four minutes later.

Peru eventually got their second and it was deserved as the clock ticked over the hour. Guerrero brought the ball down inside the box and Flores was on hand to emphatically finish first time.

Uruguay thought they equalised with 13 minutes remaining when a blistering counter-attack from the visitors saw them in a two-on-one situation with Gallese but the ball was brought back after debutant Urretaviscaya controversially received a second yellow for using his hand in the lead up.


Uruguay made one last foray forward and they were forced to leave empty-handed after Godin's header cannoned off the crossbar.
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Today, 10:31 AM

'Anything is possible' - Mbappe opens door for Real Madrid move



Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe has failed to shut down rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid in the summer, insisting "anything is possible".

The 18-year-old is steadily establishing himself as one of the hottest prospects in European football and is widely being tipped to break the world-record fee should he eventually decide to leave the Ligue 1 side.

Mbappe has struck 12 goals in 11 starts and 11 substitute appearances this season in the French top flight, with a further seven goals coming in cup competitions.

As well as Real Madrid, Mbappe has been linked with a move to Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, though the newly-capped France international believes the Liga giants are where the very top players go to play their football."Today, I am at Monaco. Real Madrid? We will see after," Mbappe told reporters after France's 2-0 defeat to Spain.

"You should go to Real Madrid when you are at the top of your game. I'm not at the top of my game. But anything is possible."

Mbappe, who became France's youngest player for over 60 years when he was introduced against Luxembourg last week, was handed a start in Paris before being replaced by Arsenal's Oliver Giroud in the second half.

Antoine Griezmann had seen a goal correctly ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), before it was used again to confirm the legality of La Roja's second of the game.


Speaking about the use of VAR, Mbappe said: "I am for video technology but to have to wait two minutes after a goal is too long."
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