On Sunday night, South American heavyweights Brazil recorded a 3-1 victory over Peru in the Brazilian capital to finally win the Copa America. The victory was the Selecao’s first at the competition since 2007. The victory was not a comfortable one, though. Tite’s team had to play the last twenty minutes without influential forward Gabriel Jesus, who was sent off on 70 minutes. Here is what happened at the Maracana:
Brazil see-off Peru
The home side started in a bright fashion and took the lead after just 15 minutes. Manchester City forward Jesus showed good feet to beat two Peruvian defenders before finding Everton, who had the simple task of finishing from close-range.
Brazil looked in control of the game as a contest. However, the visitors received a way back into the game just before half-time. Experienced centre-back Thiago Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. Veteran striker Paolo Guerrero stepped-up and made no mistake with the spot-kick. The goal was the first conceded by the Selecao during the tournament after Tite’s team had kept five consecutive clean sheets on home soil.
Parity did not last long though, as in first-half stoppage-time the Selecao regained the lead through an excellent team move. Roberto Firmino did well on the flank to find midfielder Arthur who advanced and found Jesus, who calmly fired an effort past Pedro Gallese.
Peru never gave up and were handed a huge advantage on 70 minutes with the Jesus sending off. Already on a booking after a poor tackle in the first period, the City forward produced another poor challenge on Carlos Zambrano, who had previously fouled him. The referee had little choice but to produce a second yellow card and a red card. The dismissal changed the tone of the game. The atmosphere in the ground seemed to change too, as a sense of nerves seemed to engulf the stadium.
Peru looked to still be in the game. However, a managerial masterstroke from Brazilian boss Tite to bring on Everton’s Richarlison changed the tone of the game. The instructions must have been to feed the youngster and he will keep hold of the ball. He did a superb job of keeping hold of the ball and playing it off to teammates. After his introduction, the visitors struggled to mount an attack of note.
The Selecao eased nerves with a third goal on 90 minutes. Everton went down in the area under a challenge from Zambrano. Peru goalkeeper Gallese virtually already had the ball in his hands when the incident took place. However, after a long VAR review the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Richarlison stepped up and fired beyond Gallese to seal the victory.
Who needs Neymar eh?
Brazil did head into the tournament as favourites for victory. However, Tite’s side also lost talisman and star player Neymar just prior to the competition beginning. However, even though the Selecao’s other star players did not always produce their best form at Copa America 2019, they produced when it mattered. The likes of Everton and Richarlison also produced when it mattered too.
Already Brazil are the favourites for next years Copa America. However, with such stiff competition in South America, it will not be easy for Tite’s team to retain their title, especially as the tournament will be jointly hosted by big rivals Argentina and also Colombia.
Who was Brazil’s star of the Copa America 2019?