Fred strikes late, Brazil draw 2-2 with Paraguay

CORDOBA, (Reuters) – Substitute Fred struck in the  final minute as Brazil came from behind to draw 2-2 with  Paraguay in Group B at the Copa America on Saturday.

Both teams have two points after their first two games and  share the group lead. Ecuador and Venezuela were playing later  (2130 GMT).

Brazil took the lead six minutes before halftime at the  Mario Alberto Kempes stadium in a fast counter-attack.

Ramires gained possession at the breakdown of a Paraguay  attack and fed Ganso who touched the ball perfectly through to  Jadson and he wasted no time shooting from the edge of the box  low into the bottom corner.

Striker Roque Santa Cruz equalised 11 minutes after the  interval when the defence failed to clear a Marcelo Estigarribia  cross from the left into the middle of the box where he shot  into the bottom corner past Julio Cesar.

Paraguay went ahead 12 minutes later when the ever dangerous  Estigarribia robbed Daniel Alves on the left of the box and  squared to the middle where substitute Nelson Haedo Valdez’s  shot came off Lucio but he put it away at the second attempt.

Brazil snatched their late equaliser when striker Fred took  a perfect through pass into the box from Ganso and fired low  past Villar.

“We must think as a team. We see how difficult that is in  all the matches (in the tournament). I’m going to try to score  goals, important goals,” Fred told reporters.

First goal

The goal by midfielder Jadson, in for Robinho in the only  change to Brazil’s side from the 0-0 draw with Venezuela in La  Plata last Sunday, was the first in the group after the first  two matches had remained scoreless.

The opening goal lifted a match that had gone flat with the  teams cancelling each other out.

Paraguay should have gone ahead after just two minutes when  Lucas Barrios put fellow striker Santa Cruz through but he put  his left-footed effort over the bar.

Brazil had a good chance in the 19th minute when Jadson and  Ganso combined for the playmaker to feed Pato as the striker cut  into the box but goalkeeper Justo Villar dived to block his  right-footed shot.

Midfielder Enrique Vera had a chance to bury Brazil in the  82nd minute when he had time to feed the unmarked Valdez in the  middle but fluffed his pass, then Villar tipped a free kick from  Elano over the bar.

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