Bello stunner helps Venezuela hold Brazil, Argentina beat Paraguay



Fri, 13 Oct 2023 - 11:47 GMT


Fri, 13 Oct 2023 - 11:47 GMT

Venezuela's Eduard Bello celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Venezuela's Eduard Bello celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Adriano Machado

(Reuters) - A stunning overhead kick by Eduard Bello helped Venezuela hold Brazil to a 1-1 draw in their 2026 World Cup qualifier on Thursday, while Argentina moved top of the CONMEBOL standings after beating Paraguay 1-0 to maintain their 100% record.


After a goalless first half in Cuiaba defender Gabriel Magalhaes opened the scoring in the 50th minute, meeting Neymar's corner with a bullet header at the near post for his first international goal.


Brazil had chances to extend their lead, with Vinicius Jr. having a goal disallowed for offside in the 71st minute.


And the hosts were made to rue their profligacy when Bello leapt into the air and fired home Jefferson Savarino's cross in the 85th minute.


The draw sees Brazil, who next face Uruguay in Montevideo, fall to second in the standings after Argentina's victory in Buenos Aires, where the hosts earned the narrow win thanks to an early stunner by Nicolas Otamendi.


The 35-year-old central defender had scored just four goals in over 100 previous appearances for Argentina but showed great skill to put the World Cup champions ahead after just three minutes with a sensational volley from a corner.


Lionel Messi, who was included in the squad despite being sidelined in recent weeks by a muscle problem, came on in the 53rd minute and went close to adding to Argentina's tally, rattling the woodwork with a free-kick in added time.


Argentina next face Peru in Lima on Oct. 17.


Earlier in the day, a late penalty from Darwin Nunez earned Uruguay a 2-2 draw against Colombia in Barranquilla.


Marcelo Bielsa's Uruguay went behind after James Rodriguez turned in Rafael Santos Borre's cross in the 35th minute, but they equalised just after halftime through Mathias Olivera.


Colombia retook the lead five minutes later thanks to a Mateus Uribe strike from another Borre cross.


However, the home side were denied the win when goalkeeper Camilo Vargas was sent off in the 87th minute after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Maximiliano Araujo, giving away a penalty.


Alvaro Montero came on to replace Vargas in goal but was unable to stop Nunez's spot kick.


Colombia and Uruguay are third and fourth in the standings, while Chile are fifth following their 2-0 win over Peru.



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