Ecuador 1-1 Brazil: Alisson's stoppage-time VAR reprieve spares Selecao in chaotic draw

Ryan Benson
Stats Perform
Alisson was sent off twice against Ecuador, but both red cards were reversed
Alisson was sent off twice against Ecuador, but both red cards were reversed

Alisson was given a stoppage-time VAR reprieve after conceding a penalty as Brazil somehow clung on to a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in a chaotic World Cup qualifying classic.

Felix Torres equalised with 15 minutes to go and Ecuador looked set to grab the win that would put them on the brink of qualification when awarded a last-gasp penalty, but that opportunity was taken away in an ending that befitted the remarkable 90 minutes that preceded it.

The first half saw the red card brandished three times – the first two, for Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez and Brazil right-back Emerson Royal, were decisions that remained, but Alisson's was overturned.

All the controversy somewhat overshadowed Casemiro's early goal, which looked likely to be the winner given Ecuador had a goal wiped out and a penalty decision reversed soon after the restart, before Torres headed in.

Alisson was then sent off again, but for the second time his dismissal was overturned and Ecuador were denied their late spot-kick.

Before the ensuing drama, Casemiro put Brazil in front when bundling home after Dominguez's feeble punch failed to relieve pressure on the hosts.

Dominguez was then shown a straight red for a wild challenge on Matheus Cunha, who received a full set of studs to his neck.

Referee Wilmar Roldan soon evened things up, issuing a second booking to Emerson for kicking Michael Estrada between the legs.

Alisson then appeared to earn a third red card in 11 minutes as his high kick caught Enner Valencia on the side of the head, but a VAR check bailed him out.

Fortune smiled on Brazil twice more early in the second half – Estrada's goal, after punishing an Alisson fumble, was disallowed, before a VAR review determined Pervis Estupinan had dived in the box as opposed to being fouled by Raphinha.

Ecuador finally got their goal as Alisson failed to keep out Torres' header at a corner – and, for a moment, a win was within their grasp.

Alisson hesitated and then clattered into Ayrton Preciado, conceding a penalty and earning a second yellow, but replays showed the goalkeeper got the ball first and VAR spared the Selecao.

What does it mean? Ecuador show they will be ones to watch in Qatar

While the altitude in Quito does somewhat skew Ecuador's home record, there is no doubt that this is a very capable side.

This performance underlined why it is they, rather than the likes of Colombia, Chile and Uruguay, who are all set to finish behind the big two in qualifying.

Several players caught the eye with their ability on the ball, though above all it was their spirit that impressed most – it may not be official yet, but La Tri will be in Qatar, and they are going to be very fun indeed.

Plata gets fans off their seats

Ecuador's attacking play was a little erratic, and Gonzalo Plata embodied that in a way, but he sure was exciting.

He only completed four of his game-high 11 dribbles, but he showed his ability in one mazy run that had the Brazil defence in knots. Plata's mercurial style made him a nuisance, while it was also his corner that led to Torres' equaliser.

Alisson in blunderland

Dominguez could not have done much worse that he did, but somehow Alisson managed to overshadow that.

For both of his overturned red cards, it is certainly arguable that he did not need to get himself into those situations, while his part in the disallowed Ecuador goal was bad – it did not count, but he was not to be sure at the time. And then there was the equaliser – one might expect a goalkeeper of his standing to do better there.

What's next?

Ecuador go to Peru on Tuesday, while Brazil host Paraguay the same day.


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