Paraguay 2-2 Brazil: Heartbreak For Hosts As Seleçao Salvage Point
Source: AFP

Paraguay have never lost to Brazil on home soil in Asuncion in the current format of World Cup qualifying, which was implemented in 1998. In the fourth match between the neighbors in front of a sell out crowd at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco, La Albirroja took on the five time FIFA World Cup champions.

A Dominant Home Side

The hosts were clearly more dominant with the various chances that they had in the first 45 minutes in Asuncion. Had it not been for some good defending and the stops made by Allisson, Paraguay would have scored much more. Still, Brazil had the first big chance in the fourth minute when Willian had a shot go just wide of Justo Villar's goal. La Albirroja would have their first chance on goal in the 18th minute, but were denied. A free kick from Derlis Gonzalez in rebounded off the post to Gustavo Gomez, but his shot went wide of Alisson's goal.

Paraguay finally wound up drawing first blood in the 40th minute off Dario Lezcano. Edgar Benitez was able to play the ball to Lezcano following a bounce, and the Ingoldstat man rifled a strike past Alisson to give them the 1-0 lead and send the Paraguayan fans into raptures heading into halftime.

Ricardo Oliveira scoring for Brazil. Photo: Globo
Ricardo Oliveira scoring for Brazil. Photo: Globo

Delight In The Beginning, Agony In The End

In the second half, Brazilian manager Dunga was under massive pressure knowing that anything less than a victory would see him out of a job only having completed one-third of the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Much more pressure was heaped on his shoulders when Paraguay took a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the second half through Edgar Benitez. The ball was played to the Queretaro man by Richard Ortiz before Benitez was able to fire home and send the home crowd into sheer ecstasy.

10 minutes later, Brazil almost cut the lead by one as Gil headed home from a corner, but a foul in the build up meant referee Wilmar Rolan had to disallow it. Inside the 74th minute, Paraguay almost made it 3-0 when a shot from Roque Santa Cruz produced another top drawer save from Allisson. 

Finally in the 79th minute, Ricardo Oliveira latched onto a spilled shot to score past Villar. Hoping for a miracle, Brazil continued to attack while Paraguay dropped ever deeper in an attempt to hold onto their unbeaten streak in Asuncion. However, in the dying seconds of the match Dani Alves was able to race into the box, side-step his man and finish with his weaker left foot to complete the comeback with a sensational strike to give both teams a point.

What Does The Result Mean?

As it stands, Paraguay goes to seventh with nine points, alongside Brazil who is in sixth. The qualifiers will be back in September, three months after both countries and all the other South American countries will be in the United States for the Copa America Centenario.