South American U20 Championship: Brazil fall to Uruguay defeat, exit looms
Brazil fell to a 3-2 defeat to Uruguay in the second round of First Phase fixtures in the South American Youth Championship to leave the Seleção on the brink of a humiliating exit.
Champions on the last three occasions, Brazil have taken just one point from their opening two fixtures at the competition. Now, they will likely need to win both their remaining fixtures to progress.
The Under-20 side were much-hyped coming into the event, but once more started slowly on Saturday night, with Uruguay dominating the first-half. Although La Celeste led just 1-0 at the break, through a fine Diego Laxalt strike, the margin could easily have been more.
Shortly after half-time, the inevitable occured as left-back Mansur was penalised for a clumsy foul in the penalty area. Uruguayan striker Diego Rolan made no mistake from the spot and the lead was doubled.
Having already made two substitutions at the break, manager Emerson Avila gambled by bringing on his final option in the form of Barcelona's Rafinha, with 35 minutes still remaining.
The change worked with the Spanish-based midfielder offering the Brazilian midfield increased organisation and composure.
While there was an element of luck in both Brazilian goals, they were soon level. First, Uruguayan keeper Cubero accidently spilled a Fred free-kick into his own net, before a Mansur long-throw was flicked on by Mattheus at the near-post for Marcos Junior to convert.
Against the balance of play, Brazil had got themselves back in the game and given themselves a chance of progression to the latter stages.
Uruguay were not done yet, though, and brought on high-profile forwards Ruben Bentancourt and Nicolas Lopez, of PSV and Roma respectively, in search of a late winner.
Their bravery would be rewarded greatly as, with just moments left on the clock, Lopez capitalised on fine work by team-mate Laxalt to pull off centre-back Dória and fire home under keeper Luiz Gustavo.
There were joyous scenes of celebration from the Uruguay ranks as the final whistle blew, having beaten the pre-tournament favourites. Brazil, though, were left to reflect on another poor performance.