Brazil struggle, but beat Venezuela
CANBERRA: Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino scored the crucial goal as Brazil laboured to a 1-0 win over a well organized but limited Venezuela in their World Cup qualifier on Friday. Firmino broke the deadlock on 66 minutes in Sao Paulo, poaching a goal after Venezuelan defender Darwin Machis' attempt to clear an Everton Ribeiro cross fell to him a few yards out. Firmino's 16th goal in 47 appearances for the Selecao was enough to maintain their 100 percent record in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Brazil have already beaten Bolivia (5-0) and Peru (4-2) and top the South American qualifying table with Argentina second. Venezuela, who lost their first two qualifiers, were set up to contain and held the Brazilians scoreless at half time in the deserted Morumbi stadium. The hosts missed the injured Neymar's creativity in midfield, but even with an attack sporting Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison, they could find no way through the mass Venezuelan defence in the first half. Richarlison did have the ball in the net early on but the Everton striker's celebrations were cut short when Firmino was adjuged to have been narrowly offside in the buildup. For all Brazil's pressing, Wuilker Farinez had little enough to do in the Venezuela goal, but the keeper made a flying save to beat away a bouncing shot from Firmino just before the half-hour, the Liverpool striker heading the resulting corner well wide. - AFP kp_observed": 0.0, "sts_include_subdomains": false, "sts_observed":