Brazil 2-0 Ecuador: 5 talking points as Richarlison and Neymar continue Selecao's perfect start | 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Brazil have won all five of their qualifying games so far.
Brazil have won all five of their qualifying games so far.

Brazil continued their perfect start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against Ecuador in Porto Alegre. Richarlison and Neymar scored for the reigning Copa America champions, who returned to the top of the table with the victory.

Tite's side were underwhelming in the first half, struggling to carve out chances and misplacing a lot of their passes. But a few tactical changes after the break saw Brazil rediscover their rhythm, with Richarlison finding the breakthrough following a neat one-two with Neymar.

The PSG star then doubled Brazil's lead from the spot in injury time, scoring his 65th goal for A Selecao to rubberstamp his team's win.

With five wins from as many games, Brazil are the only team to have a 100% record in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, leading Argentina by four points. Brazil will next be up against Paraguay on Tuesday, while Ecuador will host Peru.

Also Read: Fabrizio Romano’s Transfer Roundup: Update on Lionel Messi’s contract, Chelsea’s plan for the summer, and more.

On that note, let's have a look at the five major talking points from the game:

#1 Richarlison and Neymar link up to deadly effect

The Brazil strike duo combined to down Ecuador.
The Brazil strike duo combined to down Ecuador.

On paper, it seemed like Richarlison would play on the right, Neymar on the left, and Gabriel Barbosa through the middle. While the trident did not work in sync, the Selecao looked more dangerous when the Everton star attacked from the left and Neymar played behind him.

Neymar received the ball in the middle before laying it off for Richarlison, who cut inside but shot wide. One such move resulted in a goal, though; Neymar received the ball near the byline and fed Richarlison, who slalomed his way inside the area and fired into the net.

This partnership could prove vital for Brazil at the Copa America.

#2 Ecuador's attacking spirit goes missing against Brazil

Ecuador didn't attempt a single effort on target against Brazil.
Ecuador didn't attempt a single effort on target against Brazil.

Coming into this game, Ecuador had scored 13 goals in just four games, more than any other team in the CONMEBOL qualifiers so far. They scored four against Uruguay and six against Colombia in an emphatic win last year. But against Brazil, La Tri were subdued, and their attacking spark was missing.

As was expected, Brazil were in control for most of the match, dominating possession and pegging back the visitors with their high press. That left Ecuadorian attackers Enner Valencia and Angel Mena isolated upfront. Ecuador's counter-attacking game, too, was poor on the night.

#3 Neymar's penalty drama

Neymar missed his first attempt from the spot but made amends.
Neymar missed his first attempt from the spot but made amends.

With the game finely poised at 1-0 and Brazil struggling to break down Ecuador, Neymar had the chance to double their advantage from the spot when Gabriel Jesus was brought down inside the area.

Neymar's tame effort was stopped by Dominguez. But in a bizarre turn of circumstances, the referee asked the PSG star to retake the penalty, as the Ecuador goalkeeper was off his line. The Selecao no. 10 made no mistake this time, sending Dominguez the wrong way with a nonchalant chip.

#4 Militao is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Brazil's defence

Militao impressed with Brazil
Militao impressed with Brazil

Militao has impressed with Real Madrid. But he is now doing so for Brazil as well. He was superb against Ecuador, looking like a leader in the defence and leading by example.

Whenever the Tricolors attempted to break forward on the counter, Militao showed excellent positional awareness to nip the attack in the bud and also laid a couple of tidy passes too.

Militao worked well alongside Marquinhos and ran a taut ship. While most of the action transpired at the other end of the pitch, Militao's performance went under the radar, but he was Brazil's real Man of the Match.

#5 Gabriel Barbosa fluffs his lines

Gabigol was disappointing for Brazil in attack.
Gabigol was disappointing for Brazil in attack.

Starting ahead of both Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Barbosa was given a chance to impress and stake a claim for the striker's role. But the Flamengo star failed to do so, missing some good chances to score.

In the 72nd minute, Gabigol went one-on-one with Dominguez but couldn't find a way past him. He also glanced a header wide off the post with the goalkeeper well off his line after having had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half.

Barbosa endured a forgettable outing on the night and will look for better returns in his next outing.

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Edited by Bhargav
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