Neymar strikes as Brazil sink Colombia

Neymar (Getty Images)
Neymar (Getty Images)

Manaus - Neymar scored the winning goal as Brazil defeated Colombia 2-1 to maintain their 2018 World Cup qualifying resurgence on Tuesday.

Barcelona superstar Neymar swept home a 74th-minute strike at Manaus's Arena Amazonia to settle a pulsating encounter between the two rivals.

It was a sweet victory for Neymar, who has unhappy memories from recent encounters with Colombia.

The 24-year-old suffered a tournament-ending injury against Colombia during Brazil's ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign.

A year later Neymar was sent off in a stormy battle between the two sides at the 2015 Copa America in Chile, and subsequently banned for four matches.

Neymar's second-half winner came after Brazil had taken the lead in the second minute through Inter Milan defender Miranda, heading home his first ever international goal on his 31st birthday.

But Colombia fought back and forced an equaliser when Marquinhos headed into his home net nine minutes before half-time.

The win saw Brazil move into second place in the overall standings, just ahead of Argentina on goal difference in South America's marathon qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup.

The five-time World Cup winners now have 15 points from eight games, one point behind leaders Uruguay who thrashed Paraguay in Montevideo earlier on Tuesday.

Results from 2018 World Cup South America qualifying matches on Tuesday:

At Montevideo

Uruguay 4 (Cavani 18, 54, Rodriguez 42, Suarez 45-pen) Paraguay 0

At Merida, Venezuela

Venezuela 2 (Juanpi 35, Martinez 53) Argentina 2 (Pratto 58, Otamendi 83)

At Santiago

Chile 0 Bolivia 0

At Manaus, Brazil

Brazil 2 (Miranda 2, Neymar 74) Colombia 1 (Marquinhos 36-og)

At Lima

Peru 2 (Cueva 19-pen, Tapia 78) Ecuador 1 (Achilier 31)

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