Copa America 2021 continued play last night with the hosts in splendid form and Neymar in superlative gear.
Playing with confidence and a different team from their opening match hosts Brazil still managed to thrash an overmatched Peru 4-0 at Olympic Stadium Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil coach, Tite, experimented with each of his lines and his goalkeeper in what seemed both an attempt to give certain players a rest ahead of tougher matches down the road, and a search for his best lineup going forward.
Keeping Casemiro, Marquinhos, Alisson, and Firmino on the bench, the latter a second-half replacement, Brazil still managed to produce goals from Alex Sandro (12th), Neymar (68th), Everton Ribeiro (89th), and Richarlison 90+3’. The two wins (including over Venezuela 3-0 earlier) keep the hosts with a clean sheet, six points, and a +7 goal differential. Tite seems comfortable experimenting but is also zeroing in on his ideal lineup and field strategy.
Neymar is rounding out into superb form both as provider and goal scorer while being the team’s leader. He has kept his emotions mostly under control and it is obvious he is building a close relationship with Tite. Broadcast viewers were able to witness Neymar’s sideline hug with his coach after his goal.
In the night’s other match, Colombia and Venezuela played out a dour match which ended 0-0 with Colombia’s Luis Diaz earning a 90+4’ red card to punctuate the tenor of the match which had already accumulated 27 called fouls and seven yellows before the red card.
In yesterday’s matches
Chile and Argentina both obtained hard-earned 1-0 victories. Chile won their match over Bolivia courtesy of a 10th-minute lead provided by Ben Breton, then possessed the ball 62% of the time, outshot Bolivia 18-10 (11-3 on target), but managed no further scoring.
Argentina squeaked by a tired Uruguay who managed but a handful of chances in a tight match the Argentines dominated with six shots on target to Uruguay’s zero despite the latter’s 55-45% possession edge. Lionel Messi’s cross provided the assist for Guido Rodriguez’s 13th minute messy header off the post for the lone score, but that was it for both teams.
In Group A, Chile and Argentina are tied atop the table with four points and a +1 goal differential while Paraguay sits third with three points and a +2 goal differential, followed by Uruguay at zero points and a -1 goal differential and Bolivia with zero and -3.
In Group B, Brazil leads with six points, followed by Colombia with four and Ecuador with zero and a minus-one goal differential, while Peru brings up the rear with zero points and a -4 goal differential.
Photo: Brazil coach Tite, 104928453 / De © Andre Ricardo | Dreamstime.com
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