Paulinho scored an unlikely hat-trick and Neymar starred as Brazil extended their winning run and lead atop the World Cup qualifying standings with a 4-1 victory over Uruguay.
In Thursday’s top-of-the-table clash in Montevideo, Brazil came out on top in style thanks to a hat-trick from former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho and Neymar’s delicious lob.
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty – his 40th international goal – but Paulinho restored parity via a stunning long-range strike 10 minutes later before giving Brazil the lead seven minutes into the second half.
Neymar’s touch of class 16 minutes from time made it 3-1 and Paulinho sealed the points in stoppage time with his third as Brazil snapped Uruguay’s 14-match unbeaten record at home in World Cup qualifiers – dating back to 2009 – while making it eight wins in a row under head coach Tite.
Brazil are now seven points clear of nearest challengers Uruguay after 13 matches in the CONMEBOL section on the road to Russia 2018.
Both Uruguay and Brazil were without their leading forwards for the blockbuster reverse fixture at Estadio Centenario, following last year’s 2-2 draw in Recife.
Uruguay’s all-time top goalscorer Luis Suarez missed the match through suspension as Cavani led the line for the hosts with the support of Diego Rolan. Experienced goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was also banned and replaced by Martin Silva.