Colombia held Brazil to a 0-0 draw in an engrossing game at home on Sunday, ending Brazil’s nine-match winning run in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Finals.
Brazil had never lost to Colombia in 12 previous World Cup qualifiers but Colombia came into the game unbeaten in six qualifiers under coach Reinaldo Rueda, their longest such run since 2008.
That form book played out in the Caribbean heat with both teams playing an open game but neither creating many goalmouth chances, particularly in a stunted first hour.
The gave came alive in the last 30 minutes as both teams pushed for a winner, forcing both goalkeepers to make excellent saves to keep the game scoreless.
The result leaves Brazil on 28 points, nine ahead of Argentina, who play Uruguay later on Sunday. Colombia are in fifth on 15 points.
The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side go into an inter-regional playoff.
Brazil are still unbeaten after 10 qualifiers but their short passes in and around the box were met with a resolute Colombian defence, especially in the first half in front of a passionate crowd in Barranquilla.
After an uneventful first 45 minutes the game burst into life as the second half went on.
Brazil’s Alisson was the busier of the two keepers, thwarting long-range efforts from Mateus Uribe and Juan Fernando Quintero, while at the other end, substitutes Antony and Raphinha breathed life into the Brazilian attack and forced vital saves from David Ospina.
At the bottom of the table, the two teams that started the day in last and second last both won, with Venezuela beating Ecuador 2-1 and Bolivia overcoming Peru by a single goal.
Bolivia’s victory, only their second of the qualifiers, came thanks to a late goal by Ramiro Vaca in La Paz.
Vaca scored with eight minutes remaining just minutes after the home side were reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Henry Vaca.
Venezuela also recorded their second win thanks to goals from Darwin Machis and Eduardo Bello.
Opponents Ecuador started the day in third place in the 10-team table and took the lead with an Enner Valencia penalty after 37 minutes.
However, Venezuela fought back to move on to seven points, two behind Bolivia and the same as Chile, who play Paraguay later on Sunday.