Paraguay 2, Brazil 2
Substitute striker Fred scored in the 89th minute and defending
champion Brazil salvaged a 2-2 draw with Paraguay in the Copa
America on Saturday.
Brazil seemed headed for defeat until Fred found the net from
inside the area to equalize at Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes. The
loss would have left the Brazilians in serious danger of failing to
advance from the group stage of the South American
The result keeps Brazil and Argentina, the region’s powerhouses
touted to meet in the final, winless after playing two matches
each. Neither are certain to advance to the next stage in the
12-team competition, but victories in their final group matches
will be enough to seem them through to the quarterfinals. Brazil
will play Ecuador and Argentina will face Costa Rica.
”The fans need to be patient,” Brazil coach Mano Menezes said.
”We need to stay calm and focus on improving. We didn’t really
play below expectations.”
Fred scored after a perfect one-touch pass by playmaker Paulo
Henrique Ganso, striking a low shot into the right corner of
Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar.
”It was a good result,” Fred said. ”It showed us how
difficult it is to play against these other teams.”
A member of Brazil’s 2006 World Cup team, Fred entered
Saturday’s match to replace young sensation Neymar, who for the
second match in a row was ineffective.
Jadson gave Brazil the lead with a low shot from the top of the
area in the 38th, but Paraguay came back with goals by Roque Santa
Cruz in the 54th and by Nelson Haedo Valdez in the 66th after
mistakes by the Brazilian defense.
”We are very upset,” said Paraguay’s Nestor Ortigoza. ”We
started well. Didn’t let (Brazil) play.”
The result leaves Paraguay and Brazil with two points each after
two Group B matches. Venezuela has four points after beating
Ecuador 1-0 later Saturday, while the Ecuadoreans remain bottom of
the group with one point.
”It was important to show that we can come back,” substitute
midfielder Elano said. ”But we need to improve and keep our
Brazil had been controlling possession when Jadson opened the
scoring. He received the ball near midfield and had time to set up
his right-footed low shot that found Villar’s right corner.
Jadson was a surprise starter after coach Mano Menezes change
Brazil’s lineup after the disappointing 0-0 draw with Venezuela in
the team’s opener. The midfielder replaced striker Robinho, who was
not effective as a playmaker in the first match.
Paraguay equalized when Brazil’s defense was caught off guard in
the 54th. Marcelo Estigarribia made a run on the left side and
found Santa Cruz free from markers inside the area. He just
one-touched the ball past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
It was Santa Cruz’s 25th goal for Paraguay, tying Jose Cardozo’s
”It’s important personally,” Santa Cruz said. ”But it doesn’t
come at a good time. After all we did, scoring the goals, it’s sad
to give away two points like that. It hurts.”
Santa Cruz also gave the pass for Paraguay’s go-ahead goal by
substitute striker Valdez, who entered the match in the 56th. After
a mistake by defender Daniel Alves, Santa Cruz stole the ball and
gave it to Valdez near the penalty spot. His shot was initially
blocked but the ball bounced in off him.
”We made two mistakes and that’s how Paraguay got their two
goals,” midfielder Lucas Leiva said. ”We hope to get better in
the next match.”
Paraguay will play Venezuela in its last group match and it can
also advance with a win.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Daniel Alves, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Andre
Santos, Lucas Leiva, Ramires (Lucas 71), Paulo Henrique Ganso,
Jadson (Elano, 46), Alexandre Pato, Neymar (Fred, 81).
Paraguay: Justo Villar, Dario Veron, Paulo Da Silva, Antolin
Alcaraz, Aureliano Torres, Enrique Vera, Cristian Riveros (Victor
Caceres, 67), Nestor Ortigoza, Marcelo Estigarribia (Osvaldo
Martinez, 78), Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios (Nelson Haedo
Referee: Wilmar Roldan, Colombia.