CONMEBOL roundup: Chile win thriller, Argentina slumping

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Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup has begun in South America as Matchday 2 provided some stunning results in the CONMEBOL region.

[ MORE: U.S. lose to Costa Rica ]

Giants Argentina once again fired a blank as they are winless through two games without captain Lionel Messi, while Brazil won its first game, Chile made it two wins from two after a thrilling victory in Peru and Uruguay is sitting pretty at the top after a big win against Colombia.

[ MORE: Recapping Matchday 1 ]

Let’s take a trip around South America and recap the action from Tuesday.

Peru 3-4 Chile

What a game in Lima. Jefferson Farfan gave Peru the lead twice in the first half, but Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez scored twice and Eduardo Vargas added another a goal before and after half time to put Chile 4-2 up. Peru had Christian Cueva sent off in the 23rd minute, but the 10-men kept fighting and Paulo Guerrero’s late penalty kick made it interesting. However, Chile held on and sit in third place on goal difference but are level on points with Uruguay and Ecuador above them. Sanchez now has nine goals in his last five games for club and country.

Brazil 3-1 Venezuela

The Selecao recovered from their defeat to Chile last week by beating Venezuela in Fortaleza. Chelsea’s Willian scored twice in the first half to put Brazil in a commanding position but Christian Santos’ goal made it interesting midway through the second half. Ricardo Oliveira sealed the win for Brazil as Dunga’s five-time World Cup champions ended the international break on a high. Orlando City fans out there: Kaka came on for the final 15 minutes.

Paraguay 0-0 Argentina

It’s easy to say La Albiceleste are a one-man team, and with Messi out injured Gerardo Martino’s side badly missed their chief creator. Add Sergio Aguero’s injury into the mix and you have some big problems. After losing at home 2-0 to Ecuador last week, Argentina followed that up with a lackluster draw away at Paraguay. Not a good start to qualifying for the two-time World Cup champs.

Uruguay 3-0 Colombia

In the game of Matchday 2, Uruguay came out resounding winners in Montevideo as they didn’t miss their talisman, Luis Suarez. Captain Diego Godin gave Uruguay a first half lead, then Diego Rolan and Hull City’s Abel Hernandez piled more misery onto Colombia. Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado — who is on loan to Juventus — was shown a red card late on for Colombia, while Radamel Falcao couldn’t help off the bench. Uruguay now sits top with five goals scored and zero conceded in the opening two games.

Ecuador 2-0 Bolivia

Ah, that thin air up in Quito was Bolivia’s downfall as the teams from the world’s two-highest capital cities in the world (Quito and La Paz) faced off in the Extreme Altitude Derby. If it’s not already called that, then it should be. Anyway, Miler Bolanes gave Ecuador the lead and Felipe Caicedo scored a penalty kick in stoppage time to make it 2-0. Ecuador remains perfect through two games, while Bolivia has suffered back-to-back 2-0 defeats to open up.