Brazil’s winning streak ends in Bolivia

Marcelo Martins celebrates his brilliant goal from a 30th minute free kick.
Bolivia used their home advantage to claim another big scalp in South American World Cup qualifying as they beat Brazil 2-1 in La Paz.

Back in April, Bolivia thrashed Argentina 6-1 as Diego Maradona’s team could not cope with the 3,600 meters altitude, and have now ended Brazil’s 11-game winning streak. With World Cup qualification assured, Brazil coach Dunga fielded an understrength team, resting Kaka and Luis Fabiano, and they ran into problems early in the match at the Hernando Siles Stadium. Edgar Olivares headed the home side in front from a corner in the 10th minute and Marcelo Martins made it two-nil on the half hour mark as he curled a brilliant free-kick over the defensive wall. Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was left with no chance, but the visitors were unlucky not to pull a goal back as Barcelona’s Dani Alves saw his shot cannon back off a post with Adriano failing to convert the rebound.

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The second half saw Bolivia pressing for a third and clinching goal with Olivares going inches wide with a header. But Brazil pulled a goal back in the 70th minute, breaking out of defense for Maicon to cross and Nilmar to nod home. The visitors could make no further impression and Bolivia continued to create chances as Ronald Rivero headed just wide from a free kick. Brazil have not won in La Paz since 1997, but still top the group on 33 points, the same tally as Paraguay, going into the final round of qualifying matches on Wednesday when they play Venezuela. While Bolivia have secured home wins against Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, their dismal away form has left them some way short of World Cup qualification.