Brazil, Colombia draw 0-0 in World Cup qualifying

(AP) — Brazil’s run of consecutive wins in South American World Cup qualifying ended Sunday when it was held to a 0-0 by Colombia in Barranquilla.

It was Brazil’s first draw after nine wins in the tournament, although its superclasico with Argentina last month was contentiously suspended because of COVID-19 protocols after 7 minutes of play. FIFA will decide what to do with the match.

Brazil leads qualifying with 28 points from 10 matches and Colombia is in fifth place with 15. The top four earn direct entry to the World Cup in Qatar next year. The fifth-place team can still qualify via an inter-continental playoff.

Brazil had the best opportunities of the encounter and forced Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina to make three key saves. The most important was in the 84th minute in a close range finish by substitute Antony.

Neymar returned to the Seleção after a suspension, but was pace, missing several passes and running with apparent difficulty. He left the pitch immediately after the final whistle, showing signs of pain.

Brazil’s next challenge will be in Manaus against Uruguay on Thursday, when Colombia hosts Ecuador.

Lionel Messi’s Argentina, in second place with 19 points, was playing against fourth place Uruguay later and Chile was taking on Paraguay.

Also on Sunday, third place Ecuador lost 2-1 at Venezuela and frustrated fans who were hoping to get closer to a World Cup spot.

Enner Valencia opened the scoring for the visitors from the spot in the 37th, but Venezuela turned its fortunes with goals by Darwin Machis late in the first half and Eduard Bello in the 64th.

Ecuador remains on 16 points and last-place Venezuela has seven.

Bolivia frustrated Peru with a 1-0 win at La Paz. Ramiro Vaca scored the only goal of the encounter in the 85th minute. Peru remained on 11 points and Bolivia improve to nine points in the standings.