Brazil fought back to avoid a first qualifying defeat on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar late Thursday with three goals in the last 20 minutes securing a 3-1 win over Venezuela in Caracas.
Marquinhos headed a 71st minute equalizer before Gabriel Barbosa put Brazil in front with a penalty five minutes from the end. Debuting Antony, of Dutch giants Ajax, sealed victory in injury-time.
Venezuela had led through Eric Ramirez pouncing on a defensive mistake in the 11th minute but could not hold on for the win against Brazil, who had eight players from the Premier League – though not the suspended Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain – despite coronavirus travel concerns.
Brazil top the qualifying table with nine wins from nine to lead Argentina (19), Ecuador (16) and Uruguay (16) in the automatic qualifying spots. Venezuela are last on four points.
Argentina, with Lionel Messi, were held to a goalless draw at sixth-placed Paraguay. Goalkeepers Antony Silva for the hosts and Emiliano Martinez both had excellent games.
On Sunday, Argentina host Uruguay after Brazil go to Colombia.