Alisson was given a stoppage-time VAR reprieve after conceding a penalty as Brazil somehow clung on to a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in a chaotic World Cup qualifying classic.
Felix Torres equalised with 15 minutes to go and Ecuador looked set to grab the win that would put them on the brink of qualification when awarded a last-gasp penalty, but that opportunity was taken away in an ending that befitted the remarkable 90 minutes that preceded it.
The first half saw the red card brandished three times – the first two, for Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez and Brazil right-back Emerson Royal, were decisions that remained, but Alisson’s was overturned.
All the controversy somewhat overshadowed Casemiro’s early goal, which looked likely to be the winner given Ecuador had a goal wiped out and a penalty decision reversed soon after the restart, before Torres headed in.
Alisson was then sent off again, but for the second time his dismissal was overturned and Ecuador were denied their late spot-kick.
2 – Ecuador vs Brazil is the first game to have multiple players sent off in the first half of a South American WCQ game since June 2013 (Argentina 0-0 Colombia, Higuaín and Zapata). Nerves. pic.twitter.com/4iZLyjOxS0
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) January 27, 2022
Before the ensuing drama, Casemiro put Brazil in front when bundling home after Dominguez’s feeble punch failed to relieve pressure on the hosts.
Dominguez was then shown a straight red for a wild challenge on Matheus Cunha, who received a full set of studs to his neck.
Referee Wilmar Roldan soon evened things up, issuing a second booking to Emerson for kicking Michael Estrada between the legs.
Alisson then appeared to earn a third red card in 11 minutes as his high kick caught Enner Valencia on the side of the head, but a VAR check bailed him out.
Fortune smiled on Brazil twice more early in the second half – Estrada’s goal, after punishing an Alisson fumble, was disallowed, before a VAR review determined Pervis Estupinan had dived in the box as opposed to being fouled by Raphinha.
Ecuador finally got their goal as Alisson failed to keep out Torres’ header at a corner – and, for a moment, a win was within their grasp.
Alisson hesitated and then clattered into Ayrton Preciado, conceding a penalty and earning a second yellow, but replays showed the goalkeeper got the ball first and VAR spared the Selecao.
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