Copa America: Brazil down Peru in injury time, Venezuela stun Colombia
Brazil captain Neymar scored one goal and set up an injury-time winner as the five-time world champions opened their Copa America campaign with a desperate 2-1 win over Peru on Sunday. Zenit St. Petersburg striker Salomon Rondon scored as Venezuela upset star-studded Colombia 1-0sports Updated: Jun 15, 2015 06:21 IST
Brazil captain Neymar scored one goal and set up an injury-time winner as the five-time world champions opened their Copa America campaign with a desperate 2-1 win over Peru on Sunday.
Neymar nodded in a fifth-minute equaliser for the Brazilians -- his 44th international goal at the age of just 23 -- after Peru had taken a shock lead through Christian Cueva. The Barcelona superstar appeared to be single-handedly trying to find a winner for the remainder of the match, invariably at the heart of Brazil's best attacks.
It looked as if Peru had done enough to earn a share of the points in Group C as the match headed into injury time with the score locked at 1-1. But with the final whistle looming, Neymar advanced menacingly down the left flank and threaded a pass through a forest of bodies for the unmarked Shakhtar Donetsk striker Douglas. Douglas, who had earlier squandered a golden chance created by Neymar, made no mistake with his second opportunity, calmly placing his shot beyond the despairing dive of Pedro Gallese.
Brazil had entered the match on a run of 10 consecutive wins since their ill-fated World Cup campaign last year, when they were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals. But Brazil's hopes of extending their winning run to 11 matches were rocked within minutes of the start at a rain-lashed Estadio German Becker in Temuco when Peru took the lead through Cueva.
A defensive blunder from Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz proved the catalyst, needlessly putting goalkeeper Jefferson under pressure after a long ball forward from Peru. The Botafogo shot-stopper's attempted clearance only went as far as Cueva, who rifled home from 10 yards to make it 1-0 after only three minutes.
Brazil's response was immediate. Wing-back Dani Alves picked up the ball wide on the right and curled an inviting cross into the area to pick out his unmarked Barcelona team-mate who headed home for 1-1.
Brazil enjoyed the better chances thereafter but struggled to carve out clear openings. Neymar almost gave his side the lead in the 53rd minute, curling a shot from outside the box which cannoned back off the crossbar. The striker was again at the center of things late in the game, breaking clear from deep inside his own half and releasing substitute Douglas.
Douglas's attempt to lift his finish above the advancing goalkeeper drifted wide however. But the 24-year-old Ukraine-based striker made no mistake when given a second chance in injury-time as Brazil snatched the win.
Venezuela's Salomon Rondon kicks the ball during a training session ahead of the Copa America tournament at El Teniente stadium, in Rancagua, Chile, on June 13, 2015. Venezuela beat Colombia 1-0 during its Group C encounter on June 14. (Reuters Photo)
Venezuela stun Colombia
Zenit St. Petersburg striker Salomon Rondon scored as Venezuela upset star-studded Colombia 1-0 at the Copa America on Sunday.
Colombia, bristling with Europe-based stars including Real Madrid's James Rodriguez and Manchester United's Radamel Falcao, are regarded as dark horses for the title.
But the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists were unable to respond after Rondon headed Venezuela into the lead midway through the second half.
The goal settled a niggly encounter at the Estadio El Teniente where the Colombians were never able to find the sort of attacking fluency that lit up their World Cup campaign in Brazil.
Venezuela's goal came after a quick throw caught Colombia's defence off guard. Juan Arango improvised a first-time cross across the box to Alejandro Guerra, who headed back into the path of Rondon.
The Russian-based striker, reportedly a summer transfer target for English clubs Tottenham and Liverpool, guided a superb header over Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina before being mobbed by his team-mates.
Colombia rallied furiously in search of an equaliser but could find no way past Venezuelan goalkeeper Alain Baroja.
Baroja produced two fine saves in a matter of minutes, parrying away a vicious long-range shot from James before turning a follow-up effort from Edwin Cardona around the post.
First Published: Jun 15, 2015 05:28 IST