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CONMEBOL ; Argentina struggle without Messi, Brazil get vital win

CONMEBOL minnows Venezuela nearly pulled off a shock win against a Argentina, who were without captain Lionel Messi drawing 2-2 in Merida on Tuesday night.

Goals from Juanpi and Josef Martinez had the hosts two up with just over half an hour to play, but Edgardo Bauza’s men eventually fought their way into the match.

Atletico Mineiro forward Lucas Pratto brought Argentina back into the game with a well-taken strike, before Nicolas Otamendi’s 83rd minute effort ensured that La Albiceleste left Venezuela with a share of the spoils.

In Manaus, Neymar scored in the 74th minute to hand Brazil a vital 2-1 win over Colombia.

Miranda gave the Selecao the lead just 90 seconds into the match, however Paris Saint Germain defender Marquinhos turned the ball into his own net just after the half hour mark to bring the Colombians back into the game.

Philippe Coutinho was subbed on in the 66th minute by new Brazil boss Edgardo Bauza and had an immediate effect, teeing up Neymar for the winner just eight minutes later.

Elsewhere,

Edinson Cavani fired Uruguay – who were fresh off a 1-0 loss to Argentina – into a first-half lead against Paraguay in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying and the team went on to win 4-0.

The win ensures that Uruguay ends the international break in first place on the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table.

In other CONMEBOL matches, Bolivia held reigning Copa America champions Chile to a 0-0 draw, while Peru triumphed 2-1 at home to Ecuador.

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