Neymar helped ensure new Brazil boss Tite began his reign with a victory as his penalty set the visitors on their way to victory over Ecuador – the Selecao’s first away win in qualifying for the World Cup in 2018.
With the match held at at 10,000 feet above sea level, it was not always pretty but Manchester City-bound forward Gabriel Jesus came to the fore after a scoreless first half.
Brazil finally shrugged off their blunt start and made the breakthrough when Jesus was felled in the box following a Mina’s defensive error just before the hour.
Neymar stepped up to net from the spot and as the game neared its conclusion, Jesus – who will join City in January – scored a couple of brilliant – yet vastly different strikes – to make sure of the three points.
Brazil struggled to impose themselves on their loftily located hosts in the first-half at Quito’s Atahualpa Stadium.
The Selecao did not register a single shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes of Tite’s international managerial debut.
The former Corinthians boss handed ex-Tottenham man Paulinho a recall to the national team for his first squad and showed no qualms in giving the player he coached at club level his first start since the 2014 World Cup.
The White Hart Lane flop could not reward the faith of his former manager with a strong performance, however.
The 28-year-old Guangzhou Evergrande man was passed by in the first half, only raising his head above the parapet to pick up a caution.
As the game wore on into the second half Brazil managed more attempts at goal but their possession was often too passive and lacking a cutting edge.
Chelsea star Willian was replaced by Philippe Coutinho 15 minutes after the break as the new boss attempted to spark his side into life.
It almost worked straight away, albeit without the Liverpool man’s involvement, as Neymar played in Renato Augusto who could only blaze over.
Moments later Marcelo almost gave Brazil the lead with a fierce half-volley that whistled inches over Alexander Dominguez’s bar.
Coutinho’s introduction seemed to provide an injection of invention into Brazil and allowed Neymar to operate more centrally, thus causing increased panic to the Ecuador back line.
That increased pressure led to the opener as Jesus nipped in to rob the ball from Ecuador defender Mina following aimless through ball. He was taken out as he skipped past Dominguez, allowing Neymar to blast home from the spot and give his side the lead.
Things got worse for Ecuador moments later when Juan Carlos Paredes saw red after collecting two bookings in little over 15 second-half minutes.
There could be no argument for the Watford full-back. The challenge that saw him receive his marching orders was rash and certainly worth the caution.
Jesus was then able to crown his full debut with two late goal to ensure a more comfortable scoreline for his side. The first a wonderful flick from Marcelo’s low centre, the second a firm placed shot into the corner from 18 yards.
It capped an impressive second half from the away side, who were able to leave Quito with their first win in Ecuador in more than 30 years.
The top four teams in the group will qualify automatically for Russia and the fifth-placed side goes into an intercontinental play off.
Bolivia beat Peru 2-0 earlier on Thursday while Colombia beat Venezuela by the same scoreline.
Source: Daily Mail');