‘Cho­sen one’ li s Brazil over Colom­bia

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

NEY­MAR led Brazil into the semi-fi­nals of the Olympics with his first goal of the com­pe­ti­tion to edge the last of a three-year tril­ogy of grudge matches with Colom­bia, 2-0. The Barcelona star curled home an inch-per­fect free-kick af­ter just 12 min­utes of the game on Au­gust 13, but was lucky to es­cape with a yel­low card for chop­ping down An­dres Roa and pro­vok­ing a brawl be­tween the two teams just be­fore half-time.

The hosts con­trolled their emo­tions bet­ter af­ter the break and Luan sealed the win with a dip­ping ef­fort from out­side the box seven min­utes from time.

“This is what we have dreamed of. It is not an easy road, but we want the medal,” said Luan.

Brazil will face Hon­duras on Au­gust 17 in a Rio semi-fi­nal af­ter the Cen­tral Amer­i­cans stunned South Korea 1-0 thanks to Al­berth Elis’s winner in Belo Hor­i­zonte.

Ger­many, who beat Por­tu­gal 4-0, face Nige­ria in the other semi-fi­nal af­ter the Africans beat Den­mark 2-0.

Vic­tory keeps Brazil’s quest for a maiden foot­ball gold medal on track and the en­tic­ing pos­si­bil­ity of a fi­nal against world cham­pi­ons Ger­many at the Mara­cana on Au­gust 20, just two years af­ter the Ger­mans in­flicted a hu­mil­i­at­ing 7-1 thrash­ing on Brazil at the World Cup semi-fi­nals.

Ney­mar missed that match, hav­ing been stretchered off in tears with two bro­ken ver­te­brae when Brazil dumped a James Ro­driguez-in­spired Colom­bia out of a bruis­ing quar­ter-fi­nal two years ago. The match saw 54 fouls.

Colom­bia got their re­venge by end­ing Ney­mar’s tour­na­ment pre­ma­turely once more at last year’s Copa Amer­ica, this time through sus­pen­sion. The Brazil­ian lost his head at the end of a 1-0 de­feat and aimed a head-butt at Jei­son Murillo that earned a four-game ban.

Brazil started brightly, eased by the re­lief of avoid­ing an­other em­bar­rass­ing exit on home soil with a 4-0 win over Den­mark on Au­gust 17 to win Group A af­ter back-to-back 0-0 draws with Iraq and South Africa.

“In the first two games we were a bit anx­ious, but af­ter [against Den­mark] we got the goals and the team felt more at ease on the pitch,” added Luan.

Ney­mar, the poster boy for the Games, fi­nally got off the mark at the fourth at­tempt when he curled home a free-kick from 25 yards.

The match then de­scended into a blood bath when Ney­mar sparked a brawl by crudely chop­ping down Roa.

The 24-year-old re­ceived just a yel­low card, but four Colom­bians also found them­selves booked be­fore half­time as they sought ret­ri­bu­tion.

“Th­ese knock­out games are like this,” said Brazil mid­fielder Re­nato Au­gusto.

“They are about grit­ted teeth, keep­ing your tem­per. Some­times the foot­ball gets left be­hind, but you have to al­ways be con­cen­trated.

“We count on Ney­mar to in­vent some­thing when things get dif­fi­cult.”

De­spite their strug­gles early on in the tour­na­ment, Brazil are still yet to con­cede and sealed a place in their third con­sec­u­tive Olympic semi-fi­nal when Luan’s ef­fort from out­side the area left Bonilla help­less.

“It was a tough game. It was phys­i­cal, tense ... To play against Colom­bia is never easy be­cause they are a great team,” said Paris Saint-Ger­main de­fender Mar­quin­hos.

“This vic­tory gives us a lot of strength for what is to come be­cause Colom­bia were one of the stronger sides that could have got to the fi­nal.”

‘We count on Ney­mar to in­vent some­thing when things get dif­fi­cult.’ Re­nato Au­gusto Brazil mid­fielder

Photo: AFP

Luan of Brazil (back) cel­e­brates his goal with team­mate Ney­mar in their quar­ter­fi­nal win over ri­val Colom­bia at Corinthi­ans Arena in Sao Paulo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.