SPRING BACK IN TITE’S STRIDE AF­TER BRAZIL’S BIG WIN OVER SOUTH KOREA

▶ A 3-0 re­sult in their friendly at Abu Dhabi’s Mo­hamed bin Zayed Sta­dium ends five-match win­less run

The National - News - - SPORT - JOHN McAU­LEY

Brazil man­ager Tite praised his side for show­ing what he con­sid­ers their true colours in the 3-0 vic­tory against South Korea in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day – a re­sult that snapped a five-match win­less streak.

The five-time world cham­pi­ons – also win­ners of the Copa Amer­ica this sum­mer – re­bounded from Fri­day’s 1-0 de­feat to Ar­gentina in Saudi Ara­bia by see­ing off South Korea in their sec­ond friendly in five days.

Goals from Lu­cas Pa­queta, Philippe Coutinho and Danilo se­cured the tri­umph at the Mo­hamed bin Zayed Sta­dium.

The vic­tory was Brazil’s first since they se­cured South Amer­ica’s premier prize in July.

“To­day we showed the fans why Brazil is one of the best in­ter­na­tional teams,” Tite said af­ter­wards.

“We did a great job and ended with a great re­sult. But not only did we have a great re­sult, we also per­formed re­ally well.

“I wasn’t too pleased with our per­for­mance in the last few matches, but to­day I can say I am happy with both the per­for­mance and re­sult.”

With­out star play­maker Ney­mar through in­jury, Brazil still cre­ated enough chances to win com­fort­ably.

They took the lead on nine min­utes when Pa­queta headed home Re­nan Lodi’s de­flected cross, the AC Mi­lan at­tack­ing mid­fielder notch­ing a sec­ond in­ter­na­tional goal in his 11 ap­pear­ances.

Tite’s men then dou­bled their ad­van­tage nine min­utes be­fore half-time, Coutinho curl­ing home a su­perb free-kick to break a drought of 10 na­tional team matches with­out a goal.

On the hour, full-back Danilo rounded off the night, drilling Re­nan’s cut-back past Jo Hyeon-woo in the South Korea goal. “Coutinho played re­ally well to­day and did a fan­tas­tic job,” Tite said.

“Pa­queta scored a fan­tas­tic goal. All the play­ers did a very good job to­day.”

Since de­feat­ing Peru to cap­ture a ninth Copa Amer­ica crown, Brazil have drawn with Colom­bia, Sene­gal and Nige­ria, while suf­fer­ing 1-0 re­verses to Peru and Ar­gentina – the most re­cent com­ing in Riyadh last week.

Against Ar­gentina, Gabriel Je­sus missed a penalty that would have given Brazil an early lead. Lionel Messi soon con­verted his own spot-kick to give his team a morale-boost­ing win.

“When we won the Copa that was great, then we played a few matches in which the per­for­mance took a dip be­cause we weren’t chal­lenged on the pitch and weren’t play­ing against strong teams,” Tite said.

“How­ever, it is a dif­fer­ent story when we take on strong teams. It lifts our per­for­mance and re­ally shines the light on the great tal­ent we have in the team.

“We lost Ney­mar and Dani Alves so we had to make changes to our tac­tics and strengthen our de­fen­sive line and change the strat­egy. So I’m pleased with how it turned out to­day.”

Mean­while, Paulo Bento, the South Korea man­ager, was not overly up­set with his side’s per­for­mance.

The two-time Asian cham­pi­ons, cap­tained by He­ung-min Son, did at times pep­per Brazil’s goal with shots from range, with the Tot­ten­ham

Hot­spur for­ward their great­est threat through­out. In the first half, Son curled an ef­fort nar­rowly wide, while in the sec­ond he stung the hands of Alis­son Becker with a fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area.

The clos­est South Korea came to scor­ing, though, came when Coutinho in­ad­ver­tently de­flected the ball against the base of his own post in the first half.

Bento’s side ar­rived in the match on the back of Thurs­day’s dis­ap­point­ing goal­less draw in their World Cup qual­i­fier against Lebanon, mean­ing they sit sec­ond in Group H at the half­way stage, one point be­hind lead­ers Turk­menistan. How­ever, they have played a game less. They re­sume their cam­paign next March.

“I think it was a dif­fer­ent game; a game in a dif­fer­ent con­text than we played be­fore,” Bento said.

“In the World Cup qualifiers, the idea is the same. But the op­po­nents are dif­fer­ent and have dif­fer­ent strate­gies.

“To­day, we faced the best team un­til now and we fol­lowed our ideas. This was es­sen­tially about our of­fen­sive process, where we played re­ally well and with strong per­son­al­ity.

“Any­way, we made some de­fen­sive mis­takes and we paid a high price be­cause for that. The game was good for us and it is im­por­tant to play as we did.

“But of course, we need to im­prove cer­tain things and un­der­stand cer­tain things. We can­not com­mit the same mis­takes. It is very dif­fi­cult to re­cover af­ter that.”

I wasn’t too pleased with our per­for­mance in the last few matches, but to­day I can say I am happy with both the per­for­mance and re­sult

Pho­tos Chris Whi­teoak / The Na­tional

Philippe Coutinho scores a goal with a su­perb free-kick for Brazil in Abu Dhabi

Brazil’s Gabriel Je­sus and South Korea’s He­ung-min Son share pleas­antries dur­ing the friendly which ended in cheer for Brazil fans

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