Facundo Pellistri makes debut for Uruguay in World Cup qualifying win

Facundo Pellistri was the surprise name in Uruguay’s 24-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

It was even more of a shock to see Pellistri named in Uruguay’s starting XI for their must-win game against Paraguay.

The Manchester United loanee was named in the line-up, while Edinson Cavani had to make do with a place on the bench.

Photo by DANIEL DUARTE/AFP via Getty Images

Pellistri played 70 minutes before coming off as part of a double substitution with Cavani coming on. Uruguay were 1-0 up at the time thanks to a Luis Suarez goal early in the second half, earning an impressive away victory.

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The United winger lined up on the right wing and was booked 20 minutes in. He did not manage a shot at goal or create any chances, but he did produce an industrious display and did not look out of place compared to his teammates.

Pellistri made 38 touches in total, winning two duels and completing one dribble, also making two ball recoveries.

Playing a part in an important away victory like this was the perfect confidence boost for Pellistri after a tough loan spell at Alaves so far this season.

The 20-year-old will hope to have done enough to retain his place in the side for a home international debut against Venezuela on Tuesday.

The victory moved Uruguay up from seventh place in the Conmebol group into fourth, an automatic qualifying spot, although they have played a game more than rivals Colombia and Peru. After Tuesday’s game, Uruguay have the final two to play in March.

Photo by RODRIGO BUENDIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Fred and Brazil draw

Fred played all 90 minutes as Brazil drew 1-1 with Ecuador. Brazil have already qualified for the World Cup and so this fixture had low stakes for them.

It was just as well as Tottenham’s Emerson Royal and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson were both sent off in the first 25 minutes of the game, while Ecuador also had a player dismissed.

Fred ended up helping Brazil hold it together with nine men as they tried to defend Casemiro’s early goal, but Ecuador scored a second half equaliser to claim a point.

United teammate Alex Telles was an unused substitute.

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