Qualifying Stage
  • Willian (1', 42')
  • Ricardo Oliveira (74')
  • Christian Santos (64')

Brazil beat Venezuela 3-1 as Willian scores twice in first qualifying win

Willian struck twice as Brazil earned a first win on the road to the 2018 World Cup by beating Venezuela 3-1 in Fortaleza.

The Chelsea midfielder put the home side in control by half-time, and Ricardo Oliveira also netted to fend away a brief Venezuela revival in the second half.

Christian Santos had bundled in from close range in a rare Venezuelan foray into the Brazil attacking third, but the two-goal margin was soon restored.

Brazil had not played a competitive home match since their shocking final two matches at last year's World Cup, when they suffered a 7-1 semifinal mauling at the hands of Germany before being dismissed 3-0 by Holland in the third-place game.

Adding to the pressure on Dunga's team heading into this game was the fact they began their mission to the Moscow finals with a 2-0 loss to Chile last week.

But ahead of a trip to face South American fierce rivals Argentina in their next qualifier on Nov. 13, Brazil made sure they controlled this game at the Castelao stadium.

In the absence of captain Neymar, who was completing a four-match suspension, Willian took the goalscoring responsibility early on. Within a minute, Brazil were ahead.

Shaky defending from Venezuela let in Willian on the right, and he drifted by a challenge before cracking a 15-yard shot inside the near post, with goalkeeper Alain Baroja only able to help the ball into the net.

Baroja partly redeemed himself by saving from Oliveira, Willian and Douglas Costa, but he could do little about Willian's second goal.

Filipe Luis burst through a challenge, dashed down the left flank and had space to roll a pass across the edge of the penalty area.

Oscar stepped over the ball and allowed Chelsea club-mate Willian a clear sight of the target. Willian took one touch to set himself, and with his second guided the ball right-footed into the top left corner.

Douglas Costa almost scored a lucky third early in the second half when his misdirected cross from the left hit the crossbar and bounced out.

Venezuela were back in the game in the 64th minute when Luis Seijas swung over a corner from the left, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo flicked it across goal and Santos arrived to divert the ball over the line.

Yet within 10 minutes all Brazilian nerves were eased when Douglas Costa's cross from the left bounced through to Oliveira who, at the far post, stooped to head in.

Hulk and Kaka stepped off the bench, their presence reinforcing the gulf in quality between the sides, as Brazil comfortably saw out the remaining stages, clinching their first three points of the campaign.