Alisson sent off twice in Brazil draw with Ecuador – and saved both times by VAR

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<span>Photograph: Santiago Arcos/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Santiago Arcos/AFP/Getty Images

Alisson was sent off and reprieved by VAR twice during Brazil’s wild and chaotic 1-1 draw with Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier.

The Liverpool goalkeeper somehow managed to complete the game in Quito, during which two players were given their marching orders inside the opening 20 minutes.

Casemiro put Brazil ahead in the fifth minute when he hammered home from close range after a goalmouth scramble before the red cards started coming out. The Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez was sent off for a reckless challenge before the Tottenham right-back Emerson Royal was dismissed for a second yellow card following a clumsy challenge.

Alisson was handed his first lifeline on the the half-hour when he caught Enner Valencia in the head with a high boot. The referee was sent to the pitchside monitor and downgraded the initial red card to yellow after replays showed the keeper had kicked the ball first.

Felix Torres headed Ecuador level 15 minutes from time and the hosts looked to have a chance to win the tie in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty after Alisson appeared to punch one of their players in the head as he bore down on goal. The Brazil keeper was shown a second yellow card, before the decision was again overturned on the advice of VAR. For the second time in the match the referee ruled Alisson had played the ball first, but on both occasions he could consider himself fortunate.

Brazil, the five-times world champions, have already qualified for this year’s finals in Qatar along with Argentina. Ecuador are third in the 10-nation South American qualifying standings with 24 points from 15 games, seven points ahead of Colombia and Peru, who have a game in hand.

The top four qualify automatically for the World Cup while the fifth-placed side go into a playoff with a team from the Asian confederation.

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