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Brazil v Ecuador Live Commentary, 01/09/2017

2 - 0
Paulinho (69)
Philippe Coutinho (76)
Arena do Grêmio


The win means that Brazil will finish as the winners of South American World Cup qualifying campaign. As for Ecuador, they now sit four points behind both Paraguay and Argentina in seventh place and simply must beat Peru if they're to have any chance of reaching next year's tournament in Russia.
They had to be patient, but Brazil have managed to come away with their ninth consecutive World Cup qualifying victory thanks to a determined second-half performance. Ecuador defended well for most of the night but as soon as the home side fired themselves into the lead, it was always going to be difficult for the visitors to find a way back into the contest. From then onwards, it was just a case of trying to limit the damage being done by the in-form Selecao.
Neymar cuts onto his right foot after once again getting the better of an Ecuador defender. He then unleashes a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out, but it swerves several yards wide of the far post and behind for a goal-kick.
Felipe Caicedo spins just outside of the Brazil box and is clattered into clumsily, resulting in a free-kick for Ecuador in a promising position. It's fired in by the striker, but his shot is poor and bounces straight into the hands of Alisson.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be three minutes of added time.
An attempted Ecuador attacking move comes to an end and allows Brazil to break forward quickly. Neymar darts down the left flank on an excellent run before cutting into the box and looking to tee up Luan, but he's finally dispossessed by a dark blue shirt before he's able to do so.
Coutinho flicks a delightful pass over to the top of the Ecuador and towards the on-rushing figure of Neymar. The number 10 can't quite reach the ball, however, as Banguera is there to collect it ahead of him.
A delicate chip into the Brazil box by Valencia finds Felipe Caicedo in front of goal. The substitute rises high and meets the ball well, but he can't hit the target with his downward header and sends it bouncing a few yards wide of the near post. That's the nearest Ecuador have gone in a long time.
Luan comes on to replace Willian and make an appearance in the stadium in which he plays his club football for Gremio.
A curling cross from Marcelo over on the left flank manages to pick out Jesus in the heart of the Ecuador penalty area, but the youngster can't make decent contact with the ball and sends it safely away from goal.
Yellow Card
Marcelo loses the ball cheaply over on the right wing and then cynically drags Valencia to the ground as the Ecuador captain tries to break away, leaving the referee with no choice but to show the Real Madrid defender a yellow card.
M. Caicedo
F. Martínez
Ecuador have made their third and final substitution, with Martinez making way for Marcos Caicedo.
Brazil quickly win the ball back and push forward through Neymar, who sprints down the left flank. Unsurprisingly, they decide to take their time with the set-piece before sending it short, and they then hold up the ball deep down the wing as they try to run down the clock.
Gabriel Jesus
Jesus did wonderfully well to get the better of two defenders at the near post, and he seemed to receive a hefty whack as a result. It's left him in a heap on the floor and in need of medical attention.
Philippe Coutinho
GOAL! It's 2-0 to Brazil! Lovely play by Jesus sees him flick the ball over one defender before getting the better of one another, and he then taps the ball back to Coutinho to fire in his side's second goal of the game.
Ecuador are almost caught out once again by a wonderful lofted pass over to the far post, where it finds Paulinho. The midfielder does well to latch onto the ball, but he can't pick out a team-mate and has to settle for a corner.
J. Cazares
F. Gaibor
And the second is Juan Cazares, with Gaibor making way.
F. Caicedo
E. Valencia
Ecuador have decided to make a double change. The first player to come on is Felipe Caicedo, who replaces Enner Valencia.
Two great opportunities for Brazil! Willian fires a rocket of a shot towards goal that Banguera is just about able to save, but the goalkeeper can only push the ball out to Neymar. The PSG forward takes a quick touch and then has a shot of his own, and this time it's the leg of Banguera that denies the home side a second goal.
Neymar sprints towards the Ecuador box on a wonderful run before playing a quick one-two with Jesus. He then tries to unleash a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but he has the ball poked away from him just before he can do so.
Willian's corner was a well-hit one, but it never should have found Paulinho with such ease. Ecuador have largely defended well tonight but were caught sleeping there.
GOAL! Brazil have finally taken the lead! A well-placed corner from Willian is fired into the heart of the Ecuador penalty area and somehow finds Paulinho, who is left in acres of space in front of goal, allowing him to easily fire a thumping shot past Banguera and into the back of the net.
Neymar goes close! Moments after going down inside the penalty area, the PSG forward gets back to his feet and wins the ball back for the home side. He then skips past three defenders and shoots, but there's slightly too much power behind his effort on goal and it can't hit the target.
Ecuador push forward once again and are this time able to win themselves a corner over on the right flank. It's whipped in towards the edge of the penalty area and picks out Christian Noboa, who sends his first-time header high over the top of the crossbar.
Velasco gets himself into a good position deep down the right wing after a bit of space opens up for Ecuador, but Neymar is back there to defend against the full-back and denies him the opportunity to fire a low cross into the penalty area.
Marcelo manages to get the better of his marker over on the left-hand side of the Ecuador penalty area before chipping a pass over to Willian. The Chelsea man darts towards the sailing ball, but he can't quite reach it and loses out at the last possible moment.
P. Velasco
Yellow Card
Velasco is also booked for his part in the coming together.
Gabriel Jesus
Yellow Card
A bit of a fracas kicks off between Jesus and Velasco after the Brazilian youngster claims an elbow was thrown at him, but it's quickly brought to an end by the referee before he shows the striker a yellow card.
Philippe Coutinho
Renato Augusto
Brazil have made an attacking alteration as they continue to try and find a way in front. On comes Philippe Coutinho to take the place of Augusto.
Fantastic interception by Robert Arboleda! Jesus looks set to head Brazil into the lead once again after Renato Augusto nods the ball across the face of goal and towards the youngster, but Arboleda is there to get a vital touch on the ball with his head in the nick of time.
What a chance for Jesus to open the scoring! A lovely, swerving cross from Alves sails over to the far post and finds Jesus in a pocket of space, but he can't beat Banguera with his point-blank header, which is tipped over the top of the crossbar by the Ecuador goalkeeper.
Brazil are showing a bit more urgency now as they desperately try to find a way in front. This time it's Willian who bursts into the box before winning his side a corner. It's sent short and worked over to Alves, who shoots from 25 yards out but can't hit the target with his thumping strike.
More good play by Neymar sees him dance into the Ecuador box before chipping a ball over towards Jesus. The ball doesn't quite find the Manchester City forward but is eventually picked up by Marcelo, who is then quickly dispossessed deep down the left flank.
The visitors finally deal with the threat from the hosts at the second time of asking, and Enner Valencia then charges down the left flank before winning his side a free-kick of their own. That one is also poor, however, and it somehow hits the one-man wall camped on the edge of the penalty area.
Ecuador aren't able to fully clear the danger, allowing Brazil to come back once again. A looping cross is fired over to the far post and finds Jesus, who immediately heads the ball across the face of goal but can't pick out a team-mate.
Neymar darts his way towards the Ecuador penalty area after easily beating two players, but he's cynically tripped over before he can penentrate the box and wins the home side a free-kick 20 yards away from goal. The PSG forward steps up and shoots, but his effort is poor and flies straight into the wall.
Thiago Silva
Brazil have decided to make a substitute before the start of the second half, with Thiago Silva coming on to replace Miranda.
We're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out on to the pitch ahead of the start of the second half.
It's proving to be a frustrating game for Brazil, who have comfortably dominated possession but done little with it. Ecuador look well-organised at the back and have thoroughly annoyed the likes of Neymar, Jesus and Willian, the latter of whom has been particularly quiet so far. Neymar started well but has struggled to deal with the intensity of the visiting defenders, who haven't shied away from making crunching challenges whenever the PSG man is on the ball.
Jesus gives the Ecuador back line a scare as he charges down Velasco inside the visiting side's penalty area, but, luckily for the right-back, the ball ends up deflecting behind for a goal-kick and a few yards wide of the goal.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be just one minute of added time.
The visitors get themselves into a good position over on the right flank once again after yet another Brazil attacking move fails to result in a chance on goal, but they're forced into poking the ball out for a throw-in after Enner Valencia falls awkwardly under a challenge from Marcelo.
Ecuador patiently work their way down the right flank and do well to win themselves a throw-in near to the corner flag, but Velasco's decision to send it short instead of launching the ball into the box turns out to be the wrong one as the visitors quickly lose possession.
Jesus does well to slip into the right-hand side of the Ecuador penalty area before trying to pick out Neymar with a fizzed pass across the face of goal. It's unable to find the forward, however, as the visitors have plenty of dark blue shirts back inside their own box to comfortably deal with the danger.
The resulting free-kick is curled into the heart of the Brazil penalty area and towards a dangerous position, but Alisson does well to get a fist to the ball to clear the threat. He then ends up barging into Joao Miranda, who initially looks to be in a lot of discomfort but is eventually able to get back to his feet.
Yellow Card
Neymar becomes the second player to be booked after clattering into Velasco with a late challenge over on the right flank. The Brazil forward looks frustrated after being denied any clear-cut chances on goal.
Casemiro finds himself in a pocket of space just outside of the Ecuador box and decides to get a shot away. The ball bounces awkwardly in front of Banguera after suddenly dipping, forcing the goalkeeper into almost spilling the strike into the path of the on-rushing Jesus.
Huge chance for Jesus! The Ecuador back line somehow allow the ball to bounce through them into the path of Jesus in front of goal, but, luckily for the visitors, the striker's thumping low shot from close range is tipped round the near post and into the side-netting.
Antonio Valencia is bunled over by Neymar as he sprints down the right flank, presenting Ecuador with another chance to whip a cross in from a free-kick. It's fired in by Martinez, but his slightly underhit cross deflects off the one-man wall and into the hands of Alisson.
Neymar initially seems to have beaten his marker to set himself up to get a shot away from the edge of the Ecuador penalty area, but Jesus is penalised for a push on the defender just as the PSG man pulls the trigger. He doesn't seem too happy with the referee's decision.
A rare foray into the Brazil half of the pitch for Ecuador results in a free-kick for the visitors over on the right wing. It's swung into the middle of the box and into a dangerous area, but Casemiro is there to head the ball away without too many problems.
F. Martínez
Yellow Card
The referee's yellow card is finally out, and, unsurprisingly, it's for another poor sliding challenge on Neymar. The forward had managed to get the better of Martinez as he spun down the right flank, but he was eventually brought crashing to the ground by a mistimed tackle that left the referee with no choice but to reach for his pocket.
Ecuador are struggling to keep their discipline, and once again they give away a cheap free-kick in a dangerous area out wide. Once again, Neymar curls a dangerous cross into the heart of the penalty area, and this time it bounces around menacingly before finally being booted away by the visitors.
Another hefty challenge on Neymar leaves the number 10 lying in a heap on the floor. This time Brazil play the resulting free-kick short before Alves swings a cross into the box, but it's overhit by the full-back and sails behind for a goal-kick.
Alves and Fernando Gaibor tangle as they battle for the ball, and it's the Brazilian who wins a free-kick in a promising position. Neymar steps up and curls a cross over to the far post, where it's well dealt with by the Ecuador defenders.
It's been a comfortable start to the game for Brazil, who are comfortably managing to hold onto possession. Ecuador are doing well though, as they look rigid and well-organised at the back, which is already starting to frustrate the home side.
There's a brief moment of worry in the Brazil dugout after Neymar is caught by a late challenge from Pedro Velasco over on the right wing. It's one that leaves the Paris Saint-Germain forward on the floor rubbing his shin, but he's eventually able to get back to his feet, albeit rather gingerly.
Neymar muscles his way into the left-hand side of the Ecuador penalty area before winning Brazil their first corner of the game. It's sent short and patiently worked over to Alves, who tries to pick out Neymar with a chipped pass into the box but can only find the hands of Banguera.
Enner Valencia does well to win the ball off Marquinhos over on the left flank and then forces Casemiro into poking the ball out for a throw-in. It's sent short and eventually worked into the box, but Fidel Martinez is in an offside position and the linesman's flag is quickly raised.
And now Willian goes close! Brazil keep pushing forward as they continue to put Ecuador under plenty of pressure. This time it's Willian who does well to carve out a pocket of space for himself before shooting, but his effort from 20 yards out bounces just wide of the far post.
Great play by Paulinho! The Barcelona midfielder dances his way into the Ecuador box as he easily gets the better of three defenders. He then cuts onto his right foot and unleashes an almighty strike, but it's well saved by Banguera, who tips the ball round the far post for a corner.
Dani Alves lifts a clever pass over the top of the Ecuador back line and into the path of Gabriel Jesus. The youngster brings the ball down nicely and then goes one-on-one with Maximo Banguera, but he's flagged offside just as he's about to pull the trigger.
Neymar is bullied off the ball deep down the left wing, allowing Ecuador to counter-attack quickly. They initially do so well as Enner Valencia steams into the Brazil half of the pitch and towards the penalty area, but Antonio Valencia's attempted cross into the box is poor and fails to find a team-mate.
After an even start to the game from both sides, Brazil win themselves a free-kick just inside Ecuador's half of the pitch. It's sent short and eventually worked over to Willian, who tries to latch onto a bouncing ball but can't get the better of his marker out wide.
We're off! Brazil get us underway, attacking from left to right.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Ecuador boss Gustavo Quinteros has made nine alterations to the team that featured in their last qualifier, with only Antonio Valencia and Enner Valencia retaining their places in a heavily altered line-up.
Tite has decided to make three changes to the Brazil side that started the 3-0 victory against Paraguay in their last competitive outing, with Dani Alves, Willian and Gabriel Jesus coming into the starting line-up to replace Fagner, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, respectively.
Ecuador substitutes: Dreer, Dominguez, Marcos Caicedo, Aimar, Leon, Ayovi, Bagui, Gruezo, Oyola, Felipe Caicedo, Estrada, Cazares.
Ecuador XI (4-1-4-1): Banguera; Velaso, Achilier, Arboleda, Ramirez; Quinonez; Antonio Valencia, Gaibor, Noboa, Martinez; Enner Valencia.
Brazil substitutes: Ederson, Cassio, Fagner, Silva, Caio, Luis, Fernandinho, Giuliano, Luan, Coutinho, Firmino, Taison.
Brazil XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo; Paulinho, Casemiro, Augusto; Willian, Jesus, Neymar.
There’s just under 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this evening…
Unsurprisingly, games between these two sides have tended to be one-sided affairs, with Brazil comfortably dominating, particularly on home soil. It’s almost 13 years since Ecuador last tasted victory against the South American giants, although they did manage to hold the Selecao to a well-earned goalless draw at last year’s Copa America.
It’s set to be a tough night for Ecuador, but they’re no pushovers and are certain to give their all against the qualifying campaign’s top team. La Tricolor have struggled in recent months, resulting in them losing three of their last four competitive games, but they are still in with a chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup if they can embark on a late winning run.
That excellent run means Brazil currently sit six points clear of nearest challengers and next opponents Colombia, who were held to a goalless draw by already relegated Venezuela just a couple of hours ago. Because of that draw, tonight’s hosts need just one more win all but confirm their finishing spot at the top of the qualification table, and it’s a victory that could well come against their visitors this evening.
It’s been a plain sailing and pretty straightforward campaign for Brazil, who head into tonight’s contest with four qualifying games left to play and their place in Russia already confirmed. The Selecao have only lost once so far, with their first game against Chile back in October 2015 seeing them lose 2-0. Since then, they’ve been on a roll, with all of their last eight outings ending in victories.
Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s World Cup 2018 qualifier between Brazil and Ecuador at the Arena do Gremio.