Lionel Messi’s return to international football was marked with a victorious goal as 10-man Argentina beat Uruguay 1-0. On the other hand, with the help of a brace from debutant Gabriel Jesus, Brazil clinched a comfortable 3-0 victory over 10-man Ecuador while 2016 Copa America Centenario winner Chile suffered a defeat against Paraguay by 2-1.
On Lionel Messi’s international return match, 10-man Argentina clinched a home victory against Uruguay with Messi’s only goal. Just before the half-time, Messi scored the only goal of the match in the 43rd minute. From the outside of the box, Messi took a shot into the bottom left corner after beating three Uruguayan defenders. The Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was caught off guard and he was not able to save the goal as the ball entered into the goal without any further disturbance. It was the only shot on target for Argentina in the whole match while Uruguay had 2 shots on target during the 90 minutes.
In the injury time of the first half, Argentine forward Paulo Dybala was shown red card by the referee after receiving second yellow card in the match. It was a rash challenge which cost the second yellow card and an ultimate red card for Dybala. In the 29th minute, Dybala received his first yellow card in this match for another bad foul.
On the other hand, Brazil clinched a crucial 3-0 victory over 10-man Ecuador as 5-times World Cup champion made a come back into the top 5 spot in the WC qualification points table. On the 72nd minute, Neymar opened the scoreline for Brazil with a penalty.
Earlier, Debutant Gabriel Jesus made a good sprint towards the penalty box as he was only left to beat Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez for a goal and that moment Domínguez made a bad foul in the box to stop him. It resulted in a penalty for the away team Brazil and yellow card for Domínguez. During the penalty, Domínguez failed to save Neymar’s right footed bottom left corner shot as that cost the first goal for them.
In the next 3 minutes, Ecuador right-back Juan Paredes received a second yellow card as well as red card in the match after making a bad challenge. Paredes was booked for the first time in the match on 61 minutes.
Debutant Gabriel Jesus scored brace in the very final moments of the match. In the 87th minute, Jesus scored his first international goal through a sensible back-heel after receiving the ball from Marcelo’s low cross.
In the injury time, Jesus scored his second goal in this match. After taking the pass from Neymar, Jesus made a superb turn and successfully netted the ball from just outside the box.
Meanwhile, hosts Paraguay defeated 2015 and 2016 Copa America champion Chile by 2-1. Paraguay took lead in the early stage of the match. In the 6 minutes, Oscar Romero scored the first goal for Paraguay with a stunning shot from outside the box to the top of the net. Three minutes later, Paulo Da Silva extended the lead with a header. In the 36 minutes, Chile reduced the lead by 2-1 with Arturo Vidal’s header. In the injury time of the match, Chilean defender Gary Medel was shown red card.
In the other match, Colombia won by 2-0 against 9-man Venezuela. Real Madrid man James Rodríguez scored the opening goal for hosts Colombia in the injury time of the first half. Dani Torres scored the second goal for Colombia in 81 minutes. Two Venezuela defenders, Wilker Ángel and Rolf Feltscher were shown second yellow cards in the match with red cards in 79’ and 90+3’ respectively.
Bolivia also clinched a 2-0 home victory over Peru as Escobar (38′) and Raldes (88′) scored for the hosts.
Bolivia 2 – 0 Peru
Colombia 2 – 0 Venezuela
Ecuador 0 – 3 Brazil
Argentina 1 – 0 Uruguay
Paraguay 2 – 1 Chile
Standings after the end of Round-7
(Note: GD = goals differences)