Soccer-Brazil struggle, but Firmino guarantees win over Venezuela

SAO PAULO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Brazil required an untidy second half goal from Roberto Firmino to beat Venezuela 1-0 and extend their 100% record to three wins from three in a lacklustre World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo on Friday.

The five times world champions scored nine goals in their last two games but they struggled from the start against a resilient Venezuela, the only one of the 10 South American sides never to have qualified for the World Cup finals.

Richarlison had Brazil ahead in the seventh minute only for the goal to be chalked off for offside and the same player’s foul on the keeper caused a second from Douglas Luiz to be ruled out five minutes before half time.

The winner eventually came from Firmino midway through the second half when he was well-placed to push the ball home from close range after a defensive header fell at his feet. (Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Kim Coghill)