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Brazil snatches draw; Messi nets 50th goal
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 31 - 03 - 2016

Brazil rallied for a 2-2 draw at Paraguay with late goals from Ricardo Oliveira and Dani Alves in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday.
Oliveira scored in the 79th minute and Alves notched the equalizer 90 seconds into injury time to save Brazil from an embarrassing loss.
Dario Lezcano gave Paraguay a deserved 1-0 lead in the 40th, driving a 10-meter (yard) shot over the head of Brazil keeper Alisson.
Edgar Benitez made it 2-0 in the 49th on a perfectly slotted shot after Paraguay sliced up Brazil's porous defense to get into scoring position. Brazil played without star striker Neymar and top defender David Luiz, both out with accumulated yellow cards.
Paraguay defeated Brazil the last time they played, winning 4-3 on penalties in the quarterfinals of last year's Copa America.
Brazil has just nine points from six matches, sitting in sixth position on the table, level with Paraguay on points.
In other South American qualifiers Tuesday, Uruguay defeated Peru 1-0 to move level with Ecuador, loser at Colombia 3-1, at the top of the table with 13 points, Argentina beat Bolivia 2-0 to move into third with 11 points, and Chile got a 4-1 win at Venezuela.
In Cordoba, Argentina, Gabriel Mercado scored in the 19th minute and Barcelona star Lionel Messi made it 2-0 in the 29th on a penalty to lead the Argentines to an easy victory. It was Messi's 50th goal in international play, drawing him closer to the Argentine record of 56, set by Gabriel Batistuta.
Argentina, the 2014 World Cup runner-up, scored only two goals in its first four qualifying matches, but has scored four in its last two matches to show some life.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, Edinson Cavani scored in the 52nd to lift Uruguay to a 1-0 victory over stubborn Peru.
In Barranquilla, Colombia, the Colombians defeated Ecuador behind two goals from Carlos Bacca in the 14th and 66th minutes. Sebastian Perez got the other goal for Colombia in the 47th, a spectacular shot as he leapt and karate-kicked the ball into the net with his right leg. Michel Arroyo scored late in the first half for Ecuador, who lost for the first time in six group matches.
In Barinas, Venezuela, Romulo Otero gave Venezuela a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute, but Copa America champion Chile dominated from that point on, with two goals from Arturo Vidal and two more from Mauricio Pinilla.

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