Cavani strikes twice as Uruguay take charge of South American qualifiers

Reuters/Andres Stapff

Uruguay consolidated their position at the top of the South American qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup on Thursday night with a 3-0 victory over bottom of the table Venezula. 


Edinson Cavani bagged a brace in the win to take his tally up to seven in nine games so far. The 29-year-old has also scored 10 goals in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this season.

Uruguay lead the 10 team group with 19 points. They are one point ahead of Brazil who routed Bolivia 5-0. The Barcelona striker Neymar scored his 49th interntaional goal and set up two more.

Brazil coach Tite, who has now won all three games since taking over from Dunga, said he had not expected his team to win so impressively.

"The team is working very hard for each other. We are trying to play the players in the positions that they play for their clubs. I believe that is helping."

Ecuador rose to third place with 16 points following their 3-0 drubbing of Copa America champions Chile in Quito.

World Cup quarter-finalists Colombia are in fourth spot, also on 16 points, after a 1-0 win over Paraguay.

Argentina; who were missing their injured skipper Lionel Messi, appeared to be on course for a win in Lima against Peru.

Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain gave Argentina a 2-1 lead with a 77th minute strike but Christian Cueva rifled in the equaliser from the penalty spot. The stalemate leaves Argentina in the fifth and final qualifying spot, level with both Colombia and Ecuador on 15 points.

The top four in the table qualify automatically for Russia 2018 while the fifth placed team enters a playoff.


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