Luis Suárez marks Uruguay return with equaliser against Brazil

Luis Suárez celebrates scoring against Brazil in Recife /
2018 World Cup qualifier ends 2-2 on the same night that Holland pays emotional tribute to Johan Cruyff in the 14th minute of friendly with France

Luis Suárez marked his return to competitive international football after an absence of 640 days by scoring a crucial equaliser for Uruguay in Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Brazil.

Brazil looked to be cruising it when Douglas Costa scored in the first minute and Barça’s Neymar Jr was involved in the build-up to the home side’s second, converted by Renato Augusto after 25 minutes.

A Uruguay side plagued by injuries and suspensions was struggling until Edinson Cavani volleyed home on 31 minutes, and then shortly after half-time, Suárez drove home an assist from Alvaro Pereira to pull the game level at 2-2. The Barça striker came very close to securing a famous Uruguayan victory in Recife with five minutes to go, but gis shot was blocked by Allison.

The result means Uruguay stay second in South American qualifying, three adrift of leaders Ecuador, while Brazil are third, tied on points with Paraguay, who they visit on March 29. Uruguay will host Colombia on the same day.

Cruyff honoured in Amsterdam

Earlier on the day, there were emotional scenes at the Amsterdam Arena as the Netherlands hosted France in a friendly that doubled as the Dutch people’s way of bidding farewell to Johan Cruyff, the greatest player the country has ever produced, and the hero of the wonderful Holland team of the 1970s.

The game was stopped after 14 minutes (Cruyff’s shirt number) for a minute’s applause to celebrate the memory of a man whose legacy at FC Barcelona as both a player and manager is also being fully honoured following the sad news of his death on Thursday..

As for the game, Barça’s Jeremy Mathieu was an unused substitute for Euro 2016 hosts France, who stormed into a 2-0 lead. Holland, who failed to qualify for the finals, managed to pull back to 2-2 before Blaise Matuidi grabbed a late winner for Les Bleus.