World Cup qualifiers: Luis Díaz scores twice as Colombia stun Brazil, Uruguay beat Argentina
Luis Díaz has scored two goals within four minutes late in the second-half to give Colombia a stirring 2-1 victory over Brazil in their World Cup qualifier match.
The forward was playing for Colombia just a few days after guerrillas freed his father, Luis Manuel Díaz Jiménez, who was kidnapped in the north of the country on 28 October.
It was a cathartic evening for Díaz as the Liverpool forward struck twice while playing for Colombia after Brazil took an early lead with a Gabriel Martinelli goal.
Brazil started well and dominated early proceedings, taking the lead in the fourth minute through Martinelli’s strike, assisted by Vinicius Jr.’s fine first touch pass.
The jet-heeled Real Madrid winger was forced out due to a thigh injury halfway through the first-half after which the home side slowly took control, roared on by the crowd at the sold-out Metropolitano stadium in Barranquilla.
The inspired Díaz alone created 10 attempts on target for Colombia, but was denied an equaliser by a string of fine saves from his Liverpool teammate Alisson, before defensive mistakes helped the forward net two headers in the 75th and 79th minutes.
Díaz burst into tears as he dedicated the win to his father who was celebrating emotionally in the stands.
Brazil have now lost two consecutive World Cup qualifier matches, and are winless in their last three games, as they dropped to fifth place in the South American standings on Thursday.
The five-time champions will be under heavy pressure when they host long-time rivals Argentina at the iconic Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Argentina will also be looking to bounce back after dropping their first points in five games in the South America World Cup Qualifiers, losing 2-0 at home to Uruguay on Thursday but keeping their place at the top of the standings.
Goals in each half from Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez gave Uruguay victory over Lionel Messi’s Argentina in a nervy affair at the World Cup champions’ Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires.
The visitors were the better side from start to finish and the win put them second in the standings on 10 points, two behind Argentina.
Araujo scored in the 41st minute with a first-time strike from inside the box that was just beyond goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and Nunez secured the points with a tidy finish in a counter-attack in the 87th.
“They are a strong and physical team and played with more intensity. We struggled mightily to find ourselves and our game,” Messi told TyC Sports.
“We never felt comfortable, didn’t find a way to end up with the ball or the control of the actions, were not able to have long possessions, didn’t create chances and played the game that they wanted, in their rhythm. They are a physical team that bring a lot of danger in the counter-attacks and they showed that with the goals they scored.”
Colombia are third on nine points, one ahead of Venezuela who were held to a goalless draw at home by sixth-placed Ecuador, who are one point behind Brazil, who are fifth on seven points.