Manchester City young superstar Gabriel Jesus featured for the whole 90 minutes on Thursday’s World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Ecuador at the Arena Grêmio in Porto Alegre. The Seleção dominated the match and counted on a goal from Paulinho to reach a ninth consecutive victory in the South America Qualifiers.
Gabriel Jesus couldn’t score in this match, but it was his amazing assist that led to one of Brazil’s two goals. He doesn’t need to be on the scoresheet in every game to have an effect, and Thursday night was another example. What a player.
It was a very tough opening period for Brazil, who had the ball and the control of the match but ran into a brick wall in the Ecuador defense. The visitors constantly wasted time and tried to get into the Brazilians’ nerves with some hard fouls and typical South America trash talk.
Brazil couldn’t create any real opportunities except for an early chance by Paulinho and a very good move late in the half by Gabriel Jesus, but goalkeeper Banguera made two fantastic saves on both plays to keep the score level. For the rest of the half, Brazil put together some good passing sequences to get to the edge of Ecuador’s box, but the final ball to get a clear scoring was lacking.
At halftime, Brazil had possession and the most dangerous chances, but the game wasn’t very entertaining or intense.
Brazil came back from the interval with a real desire to find the game-winning goal, stepping up their pressure and sending many players forward to try and break down a tough Ecuador defense.
Gabriel Jesus once again had a great chance with a free header in front of the keeper, but Banguera made another save and kept the City striker from finding the net. Brazil kept putting pressure until they eventually found the goal through Paulinho, who was at the right place at the right time and fired home the opener.
Brazil doubled their lead a few minutes later, and Gabriel Jesus was very much responsible for the goal with a truly incredible piece of skill to beat his defender and assist Philippe Coutinho’s tap-in.
Ecuador tried to go forward in the final minutes looking for a goal, but they never troubled Brazil, who confirm their place in the World Cup in Russia AND the first place in the South America group with three matches left to play.
Also: Gabriel Jesus is a superstar in the making.
Brazil: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda (T.Silva), Marcelo; Paulinho, Casemiro, R.Augusto (Coutinho); Willian (Luan), G.Jesus, Neymar
Goals: Paulinho (69’), Coutinho (76’)
Ecuador: Banguera; Velasco, Achilier, Arboleda, Ramírez; Quiñónez; A.Valencia, Noboa, Gaibor (Cazares), Martínez (M.Caicedo); E.Valencia (F.Caicedo)