Qualifying Stage
  • Gabriel Jesus (8')
  • Willian (53')

Brazil cruise to 2-0 win over Venezuela despite Neymar absence in Merida

Jesus celeb vs Venezuela 161011 AP Images

Brazil moved to the top of the pile in the 2018 World Cup South American qualifying group with a 2-0 win over Venezuela.

The Samba Boys made it four wins on the bounce thanks to a goal in either half from Gabriel Jesus and Willian which sees them leapfrog Uruguay at the summit.

Tite's men even survived a blackout as the game was suspended for 20 minutes in the second half following floodlight failure at the Estadio Metropolitano de Merida.

Coming into the game on the back of a 5-0 win over Bolivia, Brazil could not have wished for a better start as they were gifted an eighth-minute lead.

A suicidal piece of goalkeeping from Daniel Hernandez saw him pass the ball straight to Gabriel, who had no problem in lifting the ball over the red-faced keeper and into an empty net.

Gabriel was denied a second midway through the first half when Roberto Rosales produced a superb interception while Renato Augusto, Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho all spurned decent chances to make Brazil's half-time cup of tea taste that bit sweeter.

Chelsea star Willian ensured they did give themselves a cushion, though, as he superbly finished at the back post eight minutes after the restart following a fine ball by Renato.

Venezuela, who are yet to win in the qualifying campaign, tried their best to mount a recovery and West Brom striker Salomon Rondon sent a header just wide while Alejandro Guerra fired another glaring chance wide.

The hosts' surge was disrupted when the floodlights went out, leading to a delay of 20 minutes, and they could not regain the ascendency when the light returned as Brazil saw it out for another win, which sets them up for the mouthwatering visit of Argentina next month.