QUITO: Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker had two red cards overturned by VAR reviews as Brazil hung on for a controversial 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw with Ecuador on Thursday, with both teams having a player dismissed.
Alisson could count himself lucky after a straight red card in the first half, for a high boot on Enner Valencia, was downgraded to a yellow and then a second yellow card in injury-time was also overturned on review.
Ecuador’s Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro was furious after four VAR reviews — two to check possible dismissals and two for penalties originally awarded by Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan — all went against the hosts in Quito.
“We’re shocked by the development of the match, by all the strange things, by everything that happened,” said Alfaro.
“I don’t want any favors, all I want is justice.
“We feel that we had the chance to achieve a historic victory taken away from us.”
Even so, the point inches Ecuador closer to World Cup qualification with three games left as they have a seven-point gap to fifth-placed Colombia.
Uruguay also boosted their hopes as Luis Suarez gave them a 1-0 win away to Paraguay.
But Chile slipped further away from qualification after a 2-1 defeat at home to Argentina.
Brazil and Argentina have already booked their tickets for Qatar.
Casemiro gave Brazil, who were missing the injured Neymar, an early lead but Ecuador center-back Felix Torres equalized 15 minutes from time.
Ecuador should have been in front within two minutes but Valencia somehow missed the target from four yards out.
It took just four minutes for Brazil to make Ecuador pay.
Matheus Cunha headed a cross from Philippe Coutinho goalwards and while goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez blocked the ball on the line, Casemiro pounced to stab home the loose ball from a yard out.
Ecuador were a mess at the back and Dominguez compounded matters with a rash attempt to reach a Fred through ball before Cunha.
The keeper got his toe to the ball but drove his studs into the forward’s neck with his follow through and was rightly dismissed following a lengthy VAR check.
In an eventful start to the match, Emerson Royal was given his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards inside the first 20 minutes as numeric parity was almost immediately restored.
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