MONTEVIDEO: Brazil kick-started their South American World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 victory over Venezuela on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay posted their second wins and Argentina gained their first point.
Willian scored twice — in the 37th second and again the 42nd minute as Brazil rebounded from a humbling loss to Chile last Thursday as qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia got underway.
“It was a great game, we could have scored even more goals,” said the Chelsea star, who opened the scoring with a hard shot that Venezuelan goalkeeper Alain Baroja couldn’t control.
He doubled the score with another hard shot past Baroja, set up by a scintillating solo run by Filipe Luis.
Venezuela responded through Christian Santos in the 64th, but 35-year-old striker Ricardo Oliveira sealed the win for Brazil in the 73rd.
While Brazil were celebrating their first three points of the young campaign, Copa America champions Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay all notched their second victories in as many
matches to stand tied on six points apiece.
Chile defeated 10-man Peru 4-3 in Lima, Ecuador followed up their shock defeat of Argentina last week with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia in Quito and Uruguay downed Colombia 3-0 in Montevideo.
Argentina, still struggling to shake off the disappointment of losing the Copa America final in July — their second defeat in a major final in 12 months — were held to a scoreless draw by Paraguay in Asuncion.