Brazil beat Ecuador 2-0 in an insipid World Cup qualifying tie in Porto Alegre on Friday to maintain its perfect record and stay top of the South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022.
Everton forward Richarlison got the breakthrough 20 minutes into the second-half when goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez could not stop his angled near-post shot.
Neymar then scored a penalty in injury time after Gabriel Jesus was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot after consulting the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
The Paris St Germain striker saw his first attempt saved but was allowed to retake the kick after the referee spotted movement before the ball was struck.
Brazil was the better side for most of the match, but struggled to break down a plucky Ecuadoran side which had won three of its previous four qualifiers.
Flamengo's Gabriel Barbosa, making his first international start in five years, had a goal disallowed for offside three minutes before half time and moments later Dominguez scooped a low drive from Neymar round the post.
The result means Brazil is top of the 10-team South America group, with 15 points from five games, four ahead of second-placed Argentina. Ecuador is third with nine.
The top four teams in the section qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an intercontinental play-off.
Brazil’s next game is against Paraguay in Asuncion on June 8, while Ecuador is at home against Peru the same day.
Latest on Sportstar
- French Open 2023 Live Updates: Alcaraz leads Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-1; winner faces Djokovic in semifinals
- WTC Final 2023: Broad hopes Pujara and Kohli make Australia toil ahead of the Ashes
- Euro-leagues round-up: The endgame heroes
- Champions League: Kyle Walker misses training session due to back problem
- West Ham’s Conference League final ‘biggest moment’ of Moyes’s career