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CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying: Brazil tops Uruguay, Argentina in 2nd

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - NOVEMBER 17: Richarlison of Brazil celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal of their team during a match between Uruguay and Brazil as part of South American Qualifiers for World Cup FIFA Qatar 2022 at Centenario Stadium on November 17, 2020 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Raúl Martínez-Pool/Getty Images)

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Brazil’s perfect and Argentina’s right on its heels, just as many expected at the outset of CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The rest? Well, that’s where the surprises live.

[ MORE: 2022 World Cup qualifying home base ]

Paraguay remains unbeaten but has given points to the bottom two teams, while Venezuela beat Chile at home for the first time, and Ecuador absolutely unloaded on Colombia.

Here’s what happened, plus the standings after four matchdays in South America.

Uruguay 0-2 Brazil

Brazil is a perfect 4-0 after handling Luis Suarez-less Uruguay in Montevideo.

Gabriel Jesus set up Arthur for Brazil’s first goal, and Renan Lodi cued up Richarlison for the second as the score was settled by halftime.

The cagey affair had just 11 shots, with the victorious visitors taking six and putting the match’s only four efforts on target.

There was also some Red Devil-on-Toffee crime, as Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani was sent off for this filthy tackle on Richarlison.

That’s something to note when Everton and Man United meet in a League Cup quarterfinal on Dec. 23.

Paraguay 2-2 Bolivia

The good news for Paraguay is its unbeaten in four matches to start qualifying. The bad news is two of its three draws came at home to Peru and Bolivia, the two teams stuck on one point so far.

VAR had a busy, busy day, first awarding a penalty that Angel Romero scored to give the hoss a 1-0 lead.

Marcelo Moreno answered in the 41st minute for Bolivia and the visitors made it 2-1 just before the break on a Boris Cespedes goal.

Paraguay had a Gustavo Gomez goal taken off the board by VAR before Kaku leveled the score in the second. An 88th-minute non-penalty was confirmed as such before a pair of red cards were taken off the books in stoppage time.

What it means is Paraguay sits fourth, an automatic qualifying spot, for at least four months.

Peru 0-2 Argentina

Nicolas Gonzalez and Lautaro Martinez scored 11 first-half minutes apart as Argentina stayed unbeaten in qualifying.

Spurs’ Giovani Lo Celso set up Gonzalez’s opener with a great bit of combination work down the left side.

Lionel Messi’s visitors haven’t been tested much yet -- though the 1-0 tournament-opening win over Ecuador looks good after Tuesday -- but will be when qualifying resumes in March with matches against Uruguay and Brazil.

Good, good stuff from Lo Celso here.

Ecuador 6-1 Colombia

Angel Mena had himself a day, scoring a goal and setting up two as Ecuador pounded Colombia in Quito.

The Club Leon man was set up by Xavier Arriega to make it 2-0, then cued up Michael Estrada and Gonzalo Plata for goals before the latter was sent off in the 80th minute.

Robert Arboleda and Arriega also had a goal and an assist for Ecuador, while Pervis Estupinan bagged thee final marker of the match.

A James Rodriguez goal was all Los Cafeteros could manage, and that. marker merely made it 4-1 at the break.

Venezuela 2-1 Chile

Venezuela is on the board thanks to continued stumbles by its more celebrated visitors.

Yangel Herrera cued up Luis Mago’s opener before Arturo Vidal leveled the score in the 15th minute.

It stayed that way into the 81st minute, where former West Brom and Newcastle tower Salomon Rondon showcased himself to suitors by doing what he does in front of goal.

Rondon scored nine times and four assists in 16 Chinese Super League matches this season but has been without a team since October.

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table

  1. Brazil - 4-0-0, 12 points
  2. Argentina - 3-1-0, 10 points
  3. Ecuador - 3-0-1, 9 points
  4. Paraguay - 1-3-0, 6 points
  5. Uruguay - 2-0-2, 6 points
  6. Chile - 1-1-2, 4 points
  7. Colombia - 1-1-2, 4 points
  8. Venezuela - 1-0-3, 3 points
  9. Peru - 0-1-3, 1 point
  10. Bolivia - 0-1-3, 1 point

Follow @NicholasMendola