Argentina earned their first win of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Colombia with Javier Mascherano captaining the side.
Tata Martino’s Albiceleste had yet to pick up three points in the CONMEBOL section after one defeat and two draws in their opening three games. Mascherano’s midfield partner Lucas Biglia scored the game’s only goal on 20 minutes after neat approach play from Ezequiel Lavezzi on the wing. Colombia piled on the pressure in the second half in search of a leveller but were unable to find the finishing touch to earn a point.
Later on in the evening, an inspired Diego Costa opened the scoring for Brazil after 20 minutes against Peru in Salvador. Renato Augusto and Filipe Luis added further goals in the second half to complete a 3-0 win, with Barça’s Neymar Jr and Dani Alves on for all 90 minutes as their side made it to 45 home World Cup qualifiers without defeat. Neymar could also have got on the scoresheet, but his 66th minute goal was questionably ruled out for offside.
But Tuesday night was not so happy for Claudio Bravo, who captained Chile to a 3-0 loss in Uruguay in what turned out to be as feisty a game as expected after a similarly heated meeting at the Copa America. Diego Godin opened the scoring in the first half in Montevideo, and Jorge Valdivia and former FCB man Martin Cáceres completed the job after the break. All three goals came from set pieces for a side are still awaiting the return of Luis Suárez from suspension.
The result leaves Uruguay with a healthy nine points in the ten-team qualifying group, second behind only Ecuador who maintained their 100 per cent record with a 3-1 win in Venezuela. Brazil’s win means they now join Chile on seven points while Argentina move up to sixth place.
Arda Turan was in action for Turkey against neighbours Greece in what was a hard-fought goalless draw with minimal clear chances for either side. The midfielder had one of the game’s better chances just shy of the hour mark when the ball rolled kindly to him at the edge of the box. On his less-favored left foot, however, he was unable to get the desired purchase on the ball and his effort was smothered by the goalkeeper.
Spain under-21s played out an enthralling match with Croatia in Rijeka. La Rojita looked to be coasting to a comfortable win after going three goals ahead, with two coming from former Barça man Gerard Deulofeu. Goals from Mario Pasalic and Josip Radosevic set up a tense finish for Spain but they eventually held on for a 3-2 win. Alen Halilović, currently on loan from Barça at Sporting de Gijón, played the full 90 minutes while Munir El Haddadi was an unused substitute.