Brazil plummeted to fifth position in the South American rankings on Thursday after losing their second straight World Cup qualifying match to Colombia, which came back to win 2-1.
Luis Diaz, a Liverpool forward, had a cathartic evening, scoring twice in four minutes late in the second half to give his country the surprise win only days after Colombian rebels liberated his imprisoned father.
Gabriel Martinelli scored his first goal for Brazil National team
Brazil started strong and dominated the early going, grabbing the lead in the fourth minute on a Gabriel Martinelli shot helped by Vinicius Jr.’s superb first touch ball.
Despite starring for Arsenal in the Premier League, Martinelli remains in the early stages of his national team career with Brazil having only made his debut last year.
The 22-year-old gave his nation the perfect start to their World Cup qualifier against Colombia.
Martinelli began the move on the left wing and linked up with Real Madrid star Vinicius Jnr to carve through the Colombian defence.
The pair exchanged four passes, with Vinicius eventually freeing Martinelli on the edge of the box, where the forward expertly steered a shot into the bottom corner.
The Real Madrid winger was pulled off halfway through the first half owing to a thigh injury, after which the home team gradually assumed control, screamed on by the sold-out Metropolitano stadium in Barranquilla.
Luis Diaz alone had ten shots on goal for Colombia, but was stopped by a succession of superb saves from his Liverpool teammate Alisson, before defensive errors allowed him to net two headers in the 75th and 79th minutes.
Diaz fell into tears as he dedicated his victory to his father, who was emotional in the stands.
Brazil will be under intense pressure as they prepare to meet long-time rival Argentina at the legendary Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Argentina lost 0-2 to Uruguay
Argentina will also be hoping to rebound after surrendering their first point in five South American World Cup Qualifiers games, losing 2-0 at home to Uruguay on Thursday but maintaining their lead in the rankings.
Uruguay defeated Argentina in a tense match at the Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires, thanks to goals in each half from Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez.
The visitors were superior from start to end, and the victory moved them to second place in the rankings with 10 points, two points behind Argentina.
Nunez clinched the points with a neat finish on a counter-attack in the 87th minute, after Araujo scored in the 41st minute with a first-time effort from within the box that was barely beyond custodian Emiliano Martinezm.
“They are a strong and physical team and played with more intensity. We struggled mightily to find ourselves and our game,” Messi told TyC Sports.
“We never felt comfortable, didn’t find a way to end up with the ball or the control of the actions, were not able to have long possessions, didn’t create chances and played the game that they wanted, in their rhythm. They are a physical team that bring a lot of danger in the counter-attacks and they showed that with the goals they scored.”
Colombia are third on nine points, one ahead of Venezuela who were held to a goalless draw at home by sixth-placed Ecuador, who are one point behind Brazil, who are fifth on seven points.