Neymar scores as Brazil proceed march to World Cup finals

Neymar scores as Brazil proceed march to World Cup finals

Whereas everybody waits for Brazil’s gamers to make public their place on collaborating within the Copa America, they’re doing their speaking with their ft. On Friday evening, Brazil maintained their 100% report in World Cup qualifying with a 2-Zero win at residence to Ecuador.

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The gamers goal to attend till after the subsequent week’s sport in opposition to Paraguay earlier than making their place clear on the Copa America, contentiously awarded to Brazil after Argentina and Colombia had been dropped as co-hosts amid surging coronavirus circumstances within the area.

Historical past was not made on Friday evening, as Brazil have nonetheless but to lose a World Cup qualifier at residence. However historical past might be made on Tuesday evening when Brazil’s gamers have their say on the controversial Copa.

However earlier than that occurs, there was a sport. And it was not simple in opposition to an Ecuador team mendacity third within the desk, who confirmed as soon as extra why Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro is an effective match. He’s a extremely competent organiser of compact teams who search to mark on the entrance foot after which launch fast counter assaults. That mentioned, there have been few indicators of the counter-attack in Porto Alegre as Brazil’s defence loved an untroubled evening. However Ecuador made them work arduous and suppose deeply looking for their victory. And with Ecuador’s fundamental rivals for qualification failing to win on Thursday, they return residence with confidence intact.

It was not solely Ecuador’s defensive self-discipline that made life arduous for Brazil. This was their first match since November and with little or no time on the coaching floor, it was hardly a shock that the strikes didn’t stream. Twenty-four hours earlier each Argentina and Uruguay had the identical downside of their residence matches. The lengthy pause between rounds 4 and 5 has clearly made issues simpler for the defensive sides. And Brazil added to their lack of collective understanding with a team that confirmed an astonishing eight modifications from the aspect that beat Uruguay in Montevideo nearly seven months in the past.

A few of these modifications had been welcome, such because the return of goalkeeper Alisson, of central midfielder Casemiro and of Neymar, the principle attacking expertise. Some had been enforced. With Thiago Silva and Douglas Luiz each unavailable, there have been possibilities for Eder Militao and Fred. Lucas Paqueta crammed the slot that has normally belonged to Philippe Coutinho. There was one shock, Alex Sandro changing Renan Lodi at left-back. And one fascinating experiment, with native hero Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa recalled after 5 years in the issue centre-forward place.

Neymar celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot on the second try. SILVIO AVILA/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Brazil began the sport with Gabigol forward of Neymar on the left, Paqueta central and Richarlison on the suitable and endured a irritating half hour after they made little impression. Coach Tite shuffled his pack. Trying to find extra of the ball, Neymar drifted infield, with Richarlison switching flanks and Paqueta despatched out to the suitable, the place he didn’t look fully comfy.

Probabilities began appearing as area opened up, however it was one other tweak simply after the hour that broke the impasse. Tite was able to carry on Gabriel Jesus, nearly definitely for Paqueta, however because the substitution was being ready, Fred dedicated a foul. He was already on a yellow card, and the Ecuador gamers surrounded the referee and appealed for a pink. There was no justice of their case, however Tite was not taking possibilities. Off got here Fred, Jesus went to the suitable wing and Paqueta dropped to central midfield.

It is considered one of many roles that Paqueta performed when he was at Flamengo. Tite doesn’t belief the Lyon midfielder’s defensive self-discipline however this was a sport the place creativity was way more essential than marking in the midst of the sector. Quickly afterwards, as Xavier Arreaga tried to carry the ball out of defence Paqueta stopped him, Neymar got here in to take the ball away and handed left to Richarlison, whose shot beat keeper Alexander Dominguez at his close to publish.

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Ecuador had been pressured to make attacking modifications, and as area started to open up a second Brazil purpose appeared doubtless. Gabigol moved properly throughout the attacking line and got here near scoring earlier than giving technique to Roberto Firmino.

The sport was drifting in the direction of a 1-Zero Brazil win till a late VAR present. First the video referee discovered a penalty after a goalmouth melee. After learning the proof, match official Alexis Herrera agreed that Jesus had been fouled and pointed to the spot. After a prolonged delay, up stepped Neymar, whose shot was properly saved by Dominguez diving to his proper. On went the sport, by now into stoppage time, till the motion was halted two minutes later because the VAR determined that Dominguez moved off his line when making the save. It was marginal and presumably over-officious. It led to a different lengthy delay till Neymar stepped up as soon as extra, stored his cool and scored with a intelligent chip to the keeper’s left.

Reigning South American champions, properly on the best way to Qatar with 5 wins out of 5, Brazil needs to be buzzing as they make their technique to Paraguay for Tuesday’s sixth spherical. As an alternative, there’s inner chaos. Gamers and coach are clearly sad with the concept of taking part in the Copa America, and are at loggerheads with the FA president Rodrigo Caboclo. It stays to be seen what is going to occur.

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