Brazil in control after Paulinho treble against Uruguay

Brazil is inches away from making it into the 2018 World Cup after a huge 4-1 away win against Uruguay, their closest rivals in the CONMEBOL qualifying table.

The top two teams met at the Estadio Centenario only for Uruguay to be awarded a penalty on nine minutes, when Alisson took down Edinson Cavani after the PSG striker had beaten the Brazil keeper to a chested back-pass from left-back Marcelo.

Cavani converted by powering his shot low and to the right of Alisson to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.

But Brazil responded well, and Paulinho scored the first of his goals to put Brazil level in the 19th minute — the former Tottenham player fired home from distance after picking up the ball unmarked.

After the break, Paulinho put Brazil in front by pouncing on the rebound of a Roberto Firmino shot and punching home from close range for his third goal in as many games for his country.

The game was Brazil’s as Neymar sealed the game with Brazil’s third in the 75th minute. The Barcelona superstar raced onto a lobbed through ball behind the defence and made an easy chip over goalkeeper Martin Silva who’d come out from his line.

As Paulinho added his third just before the final whistle with a close chested finish from a cross, the win puts Brazil, now on 30 points from 13 CONMEBOL matches, just a few steps away from qualifying on top second-placed Uruguay, who have 23.

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