Brazil achieved a faint victory in the absence of its star Neymar at its guest house Venezuela 1-0 on Friday evening in São Paulo in the third round of the United Group qualifiers in South America and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
“Siliciao” lacked creativity in the absence of the French Paris Saint-Germain star, who has not recovered from a muscle injury in his thigh, and needed the goal of the other striker Roberto Firmino (67) to settle the three points, and stand alone at the top of the standings with three full victories.
Neymar (28 years), the most expensive player in the world, scored a hat-trick in Lima last month, raising his tally to 64 goals, surpassing Ronaldo’s “phenomenon” number and standing 13 goals away from the local figure of Pele.
In front of a team that blocked it with a goalless draw in the Copa America last year, Brazil went into the confrontation with seven absences, most notably midfielders Casemiro and Coutinho.
Coach Titi had to push through an unusual attacking line that included: Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus and Firmino.
Firmino played late, similar to his position with Liverpool, while Jesus (Manchester City) struggled to emerge on the right side.
The five-time world champion missed a player who poses a danger to the sides, despite Renan Lodi’s attempts on the left corridor.
In a sterile first half, and despite the control of Brazil, Everton Ribeiro, who played instead of Neymar, seemed the only one who comfortably participated in the host’s squad.
The stadium «Morumbi» stadium was empty of fans; Because of the measures to prevent the outbreak of the new Corona virus, and I heard coach Tete’s instructions such as “Open the game” or “Change wings”; To find loopholes in the Venezuelan defense.
Firmino tried his luck from afar (28) with a ball that was blocked by goalkeeper Voelker Varennes. After depriving him of a goal he scored due to offside (7), Richardson missed a golden opportunity (33).
Venezuela was satisfied with the rebound, with a dangerous shot by Leverson Lusteldo (39), the professional midfielder with Santos, Brazil.
To get more creativity in midfield, coach Titi Blucas Paqueta pushed back at halftime, replacing Douglas Luiz.
The French Lyon player was successful, so he passed to Ribeiro, who played the ball towards Firmino’s head, opening the scoring (67).
Firmino was close to achieving duality. But his attempt passed close to the goal (86), while substitute Romelu Otero missed the opportunity to equalize with a free kick over the bar in the last moments.
Brazil play their next match on Uruguay on Tuesday in Montevideo.
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