Brazil vs. Venezuela score: Firmino scores winner as Copa America champs win without Neymar, Coutinho

Brazil moved to 3-0-0 in CONMEBOL’s World Cup qualifying campaign as Roberto Firmino scored a second-half winner in a 1-0 win over Venezuela on Friday night in Sao Paolo. The hosts entered the match with a squad weakened by injuries as Tite was forced to field a team that didn’t include Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Fabinho and others, and their absences were noticeable with a lack of cohesion in the final third.

The first half saw Brazil dominate the ball, look like more of the threat but just lack sharpness when it mattered most. Whether it was one too many touches at the critical moment or failing to execute the killer pass, Brazil’s sterile dominance hinted at a game nothing goes the favorites way in attack and an underdog scraps an unlikely draw. 

Brazil’s creativity didn’t really improve in the second half of what was an off night for the reigning Copa America champs, but they got just enough help from an overmatched Venezuela side to keep their perfect record intact.

In the 67th minute, a cross from the right wing went towards the far post where Venezuelan winger Darwin Machis, pinned deep defending in his own half, headed it poorly, knocking it right to the six-yard box where Firmino put it away with no trouble.

Boosted by the assistance of the Vinotinto, Brazil pushed for a second, dominating the final 20 minutes of the match. Ultaimtely they couldn’t get it but didn’t need it, taking all three points in a match that was closer than expected.

Brazil remains atop the table in qualifying with nine points and are well on their way to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, keeping intact their perfect record as the only team to qualify for every single World Cup. 


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