BELO HORIZONTE: Brazil put to rest the ghosts of the Mineirao and the 2014 World Cup demolition by Germany as they defeated Argentina 3-0 in the 2018 qualifying competition.
Coach Tite’s side returned to Belo Horizonte for the first time since their humiliation two years ago and celebrated with first-half goals from Phillipe Coutinho and Neymar and a second-half effort from Paulinho.
Neymar, while still only 24, has scored 50 goals for Brazil and is well on the way to overtaking’s Pele’s 77-goal record.
Their fifth successive qualification win lifted them top of the South Amwrican group and near certainties to reach the finals. However Argentina’s third defeat left them outside the top-four automatic qualifying positions.
Uruguay maintained their position just behind Brazil with a 2-1 win over Ecuador.
It was not a classic performance by Oscar Tabarez’s side, but they got the job done with all the scoring coming in the first half.
Sebastien Coates put them ahead in the 12th minute from a set-piece before a fine goal from Felipe Caicedo levelled just before half-time.
However, Ecuador still didn’t go in level as a moment later Diego Rolan restored Urguay’s lead and that is how it ended.
Peru won their first away game since 2004 with a 4-1 demolition of Paraguay.
They scored four second-half goals through Christian Ramos, Edison Flores, Cueva and Edgar Bentiez to come from behind and end a 12-year drought on the road.
Elsewhere, Venezuela won their first game of the campaign at the 11th attempt with a 5-0 hammering of Bolivia while Colombia and Chile played out a drab 0-0 draw.