BARRANQUILLA, Colombia (Reuters) -Colombia held Brazil to a 0-0 draw in an engrossing game at home on Sunday, ending Brazil’s nine-match winning run in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Finals.
Brazil had never lost to Colombia in 12 previous World Cup qualifiers but Colombia came into the game unbeaten in six qualifiers under coach Reinaldo Rueda, their longest such run since 2008.
That form book played out in the Caribbean heat with both teams playing an open game but neither creating many goalmouth chances, particularly in a stunted first hour.
The gave came alive in the last 30 minutes as both teams pushed for a winner, forcing both goalkeepers to make excellent saves to keep the game scoreless.
The result leaves Brazil on 28 points, nine ahead of Argentina, who play Uruguay later on Sunday. Colombia are in fifth on 15 points.
The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side go into an inter-regional playoff.
Brazil are still unbeaten after 10 qualifiers but their short passes in and around the box were met with a resolute Colombian defence, especially in the first half in front of a passionate crowd in Barranquilla.
Messi scores unusual goal as Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0
Two goals in the minutes before half time, one of them an unusually fortunate counter from Lionel Messi, helped Argentina on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Eight minutes before the break Messi floated a 35-meter pass into the area but it was missed by both advancing striker Nicolas Gonzalez and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and somehow sneaked into the net.
Six minutes later Lautaro Martinez swung and missed at a chance on the edge of the box but the loose ball fell into the path of Rodrigo De Paul who made no mistake.
Martinez made up for the miss when he converted a low cross from De Paul 17 minutes into the second half.
“We played a great game,” said Messi. “Everything worked out perfectly.”
“Uruguay wait for you and they generate danger. Once we got the first goal we started to find space and the goals appeared.”
The win, combined with Brazil’s 0-0 draw at Colombia earlier in the day, narrows the gap between leaders Brazil and second-placed Argentina to six points at the top of the 10-team South American qualifying group.