Coutinho brace helps Brazil neglect Neymar in successful Copa begin

RIO: A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a successful begin to the Copa America on Friday in a 3-Zero victory over Bolivia because the absence of famous person Neymar was shortly forgotten.

Barcelona’s Coutinho scored from the penalty spot early within the second half and added a close-range header three minutes later.

Substitute Everton netted a sensational third 5 minutes from time to clinch victory for coach Tite’s match favorites in Sao Paulo.

The construct as much as the competitors had been dominated by Neymar’s woes, firstly when he was accused of rape by a Brazilian mannequin, after which when he broken ankle ligaments in a pleasant final week, forcing him out of the Copa.

If Brazil’s first half efficiency was something to go by, the Paris Saint-Germain star was sorely missed, however Coutinho’s brace at the least papered over the cracks of an at instances disjointed efficiency.

Brazil made a shiny begin and predictably dominated the early possession and probabilities.

However surprisingly their best risk got here from set-pieces with Coutinho’s nook supply inflicting panic within the Bolivian backline.

Bolivia’s goalkeeper Carlos Lampe made an instinctive block from a Roberto Firmino flick that got here straight at him.

And some minutes later, towering center-half Thiago Silva was left unmarked eight yards out to fulfill one other Coutinho supply, however he inexplicably headed properly huge.

The pitch on the Morumbi stadium wasn’t serving to flowing soccer, with Bolivia specifically struggling to string passes collectively.

Brazil, carrying white shirts and blue shorts, weaved nearly geometric patterns round their unambitious guests however struggled to check Lampe.

Their greatest probabilities got here from Bolivian errors and Richarlison ought to have scored into an open purpose when a woeful Lampe clearance went straight to him, however the Everton ahead didn’t elevate the ball over defender Adrian Jusino, who headed clear from the sting of the 18-yard field.

BARRAGE OF JEERS

With 10 males behind the ball, Bolivia have been proving laborious to interrupt down however Casemiro went shut with what gave the impression to be a shanked cross that drifted simply past Lampe’s far put up with the goalkeeper scrambling to cowl it.

Tite’s crew have been handled to a barrage of jeers from the 67,000 crowd when the half-time whistle went.

Bolivia’s greatest second had maybe been a cheeky nutmeg of Casemiro by Raul Castro on the sting of his personal 18-yard field. It had been slim pickings.

Followers’ spirits have been shortly lifted after the restart, although, as Coutinho fired house from the spot on 50 minutes after a contentious penalty award.

Richarlison’s tried cross struck Jusino’s arm, which was by his facet and solely barely away from his physique, however after consulting the video assistant referee, Argentine handler Nestor Pitana pointed to the spot.

Bolivia have been surprised and simply three minutes later their defence went lacking as Firmino reached the bye line and chipped the ball to the again put up for Coutinho to move house from barely two yards out.

Reluctant to push males ahead, Bolivia by no means regarded like getting again into the match.

And Coutinho’s corners continued to current Brazil with their greatest probabilities, as Marquinhos headed straight at Lampe from seven yards with 15 minutes left.

The sport had slowed to nearly strolling tempo when substitute Everton scored a sensational third, reducing in from the left wing earlier than firing an unstoppable shot into the far nook with Lampe rooted to the spot.

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