Brazil played without suspended Neymar and injured Casemiro as they won 3-1 at Venezuela, and Argentina had a goalless draw at Paraguay.

Brazil trailed bottom-of-the-table Venezuela until the 71st minute, when Marquinhos leveled the match in Caracas. Gabriel Barbosa scored the second goal from the spot in the 85th minute and substitute Antony scored the third from close range in added time.

Lionel Messi was not enough for Argentina to break Paraguay’s powerful defensive line. The two goalkeepers, Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez and Paraguay’s Antony Silva, were the best on the pitch. Brazil leads with 27 points and Argentina has 19 in nine matches — their clash in September was suspended after seven minutes due to COVID-19 protocols.

Ecuador and Uruguay have 16 points after 10 matches, but the Ecuadorians have more wins and hold third place after a 3-0 win against Bolivia. All goals in the match came between the 14th and the 19th minutes; the first with Michael Estrada and then two by Enner Valencia.

Hours earlier the Uruguayans had been held to a 0-0 draw at home with Colombia, which is in fifth place in the 10-team round robin competition with 14 points.

The top four teams secure a spot at next year’s World Cup in Qatar. The fifth-place team will enter a playoff against a team from another confederation.