Neymar stars as Brazil advance to Copa final

Brazil, the hosts and defending champions, sirvived a fierce second half challenge from Peru to advance to the Copa America final.  Lucas Pacquiao scored the only goal of the first half in a pulsating match.  Pacquiao scored in the 35th minute from a clever pass from super star Neymar.  Pacquiao’s only goal  had also seen Brazil beat Chile in the quarter-finals.

Brazil’s opponents would be the winners of the second semi – final between Argentina and Colombia at the famous Maracana Stadium on Sunday morning. 

The Argentina-Colombia semi-final will be played tomorrow at 6.30am.  Brazil will take on Sunday in a bid to clinch their 10th Copa America title.  This is Brazil’s ninth final in the last 14 Copa America tournaments.  In 2019, Brazil defeated Peru to win the title.

In the first half, Brazil came close to go ahead several times against a Peru, who dug deep into defence. However, Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallas’ explosive form kept their efforts at bay.  Gallus thwarted goals from Neymar and Richardson before conceding in the 35th minute.

Neymar’s incredible individual effort was at the heart of the goal. The PSG icon jumped into the Peru box with the ball, three Peruvian defenders came to the defense.  Neymar passes the ball to Lucas Pacquiao in the middle of the box.  Without wasting a single moment, Pacquiao’s left-footed shot bounced off the Peruvian goalkeeper and into the net.

The match got more exciting as Peru shifted the gear of the game in the second half as they played with more attacking intent. The two changes made by the Peruvian coach to the team were also reflected in their game.  Peru tightened their grip on the Brazilian players with a series of misses.  Brazil defended against Peru, attacking en masse, and counter-attacked at every opportunity.

Brazil goalkeeper Ederson saved some of the best shots of the Peruvians, including the one in the start of the second half. Titte’s boys hung on to defend their lead and ensure a consecutive South American final.