Rio de Janerio:
Brazil forward Richarlison got the breakthrough 20 minutes into the second half as Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez could not stop his near-post shot. Neymar scored a penalty in injury time after Gabriel Jesus was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot following consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
The Paris Saint Germain striker saw his first attempt saved, but was allowed to retake the kick as the referee spotted movement before the ball was struck. Brazil was the better side for most of the match, but struggled to break down a plucky Ecuadorian team, which had won three of its previous four qualifying games.
Gabriel Barbosa, making his first international start in five years, had a goal disallowed for offside three minutes before half-time. Moments later, Dominguez scooped a low drive from Neymar round the post. The result means that Brazil is top of the 10-team South American group with 15 points from five games, four ahead of second-placed Argentina. Ecuador is third in the standings with nine points.
Results: Brazil 2 beat Ecuador 0; Peru 0 lost to Colombia 3; Argentina 1 drew with Chile 1; Uruguay 0 drew with Paraguay 0; Bolivia 3 beat Venezuela 1
Spain, Portugal play out goalless draw
Spain and Portugal played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in Madrid on Friday as both sides prepared for the upcoming European Championship.
In the first international game with fans in Spain since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15,000-strong crowd thought the home team had fallen behind when Jose Fonte’s looping header beat Unai Simon in the 23rd minute. However, it was ruled out for a foul on Pau Torres. A nervy Simon then saw a clearance charged down by Cristiano Ronaldo, but the ball ricocheted straight back to the Spain stopper.
After struggling early on, the host was much better after the restart, with Alvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia missing chances. Portugal was indebted to goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who denied Ferran Torres from close range with two minutes remaining. Morata hit the bar in stoppage time as Luis Enrique’s side failed to find a late winner.