Belo Horizonte: Julio Cesar was the hero for Brazil as the veteran keeper saved two spot-kicks as FIFA World Cup hosts Brazil squeezed into the quarter-finals with a 3-2 shootout win over Chile, with the Round of 16 clash between the two South American giants finishing 1-1 after extra-time.
Chile had lost to Brazil at the Round of 16 stage at the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, with Saturday's referee Howard Webb also at the helm of their most recent knockout stage defeat, the 3-0 loss in Johannesburg, and after an impressive Group Stage campaign which included a 3-1 Brazil 2014 opening win over Australia, La Roja were hoping it would be third time lucky in Belo Horizonte.
The omens were not good for Chile as Brazil took the lead with 18 minutes at the Estadio Mineirao played when Thiago Silva headed Neymar's inswinging corner back into the dangerzone where it was stabbed home by David Luiz, although the final touch may have come off of Chile's Gonzalo Jara.
A lapse in concentration at a throw in allowed Eduardo Vargas to claim possession and square the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who had ample time and space to pick his spot and fire a low, right-footer into the far corner of the net as Chile drew level in the 32nd minute.
Hulk, who spent three years in Japan where he had spells with Kawasaki Frontale, Consadole Sapporo and Tokyo Verdy, thought he had regained Brazil's lead but his effort nine minutes after the interval was ruled out for use of the arm while at the other end Julio Cesar made a superb save from Charles Aranguiz to keep the score level.
Neither side could break the deadlock in the remainder of regulation time in an evenly-fought encounter forcing an additional 30 minutes play, at the end of which substitute Mauricio Pinilla almost settled the match in favour of Chile only to see his shot cannon back off the woodwork.
The woodwork would again frustrate Chile, with Jara's sudden-death penalty striking the post with Brazil leading 3-2 after Davis Luiz, Marcello and Neymar had scored for the hosts, who were also indebted to keeper Julio Cesar, who saved spot-kicks from Pinilla and Sanchez.
Al Hilal coach Laurentiu Reghecampf was satisfied with his side's 1-0 win over Al Sadd on Tuesday as they took a narrow lead in the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final showdown.
Pohang: FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo has insisted his players must neutralize the attacking threat of Pohang Steelers when they take on their K League Classic rivals in the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final tie at The Steelyard on Wednesday.
Sydney: Coach Tony Popovic is banking on Western Sydney Wanderers’ strong home record in the AFC Champions League this season against defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, while FC Seoul and Pohang Steelers face-off in an all-Korean clash as the continental competition’s East Zone quarter-final first legs kick-off on Wednesday.