Argentina share lacklustre draw with Colombia
WASHINGTON, Sept 12, (Agencies): Richarlison capped his first full start for Brazil by scoring twice as the South American giants thrashed El Salvador 5-0 at FedEx Field here Tuesday.
The 21-year-old, who was signed by Premier League side Everton from Watford earlier this year for $52 million, produced two excellent strikes on 16 and 50 minutes to reward the faith shown in him by manager Tite.
El Salvador barely mustered a chance as Brazil, led by Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar who played the entire 90 minutes, put on an excellent performance in front of their adoring American based fans in the US capital.
Tite and his coaching staff are ready to move on from their disappointing showing at the World Cup this summer where they lost to Belgium in the last eight and are now focused on the 2019 Copa America in Brazil.
This was a display which would have encouraged them immensely.
The Brazil coach named a strong side for the second match of their mini two-match tour – the USA were defeated 2-0 on Friday in New Jersey – with the likes of Neymar, Douglas Costa, Philippe Coutinho all starting.
Richarlison, who made his debut as a substitute in the first match, started for the first time as was Barcelona midfielder Arthur.
And after just two minutes, the five time world champions were ahead.
It was a questionable decision by the referee – defender Roberto Dominguez, who plays in MLS for Vancouver, was adjudged to have brought down Richarlison in the area allowing Neymar to step up and score his 59th goal for the Selecao.
On 15 minutes, Tite’s side doubled their lead thanks to a fantastic strike from Richarlison.
Neymar teed up the striker who produced a brilliant curling finish from the edge of the area.
The double strike compounded a terrible start for El Salvador who were forced to come from behind against minnows Montserrat at the weekend in qualifying for the CONCACAF Nations League.
Neymar was involved in everything and Coutinho almost made it three thanks to more inventiveness from the PSG star who crashed an effort against the bar on 22 minutes as Brazil threatened to run riot.
El Salvador were totally outclassed and 15 minutes before the interval Coutinho made it three, expertly firing home from 18 yards leaving goalkeeper Henry Hernandez totally flat footed.
Neymar was denied on 38 minutes by some last ditch defending following brilliant play from Costa before he the Brazil captain was booked for diving just before the interval.
TV replays suggested it was a foul but it was a brave call from the referee who was clearly taking past indiscretions into account.
Neymar was all smiles soon afterwards though when Richarlison scored his second, another clinical finish from Coutinho’s set-up coming just five minutes after the interval.
Marquinhos made it five in the 90th minute, heading in a corner from a Neymar corner.
Argentina and Colombia drew 0-0 in a friendly in New Jersey in a game that did little to cheer fans of either side hoping for a boost after disappointing World Cup showings.
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina made a fine diving save to tip an Exequiel Palacios shot over the bar after six minutes while his Argentine counterpart Franco Armani was the busier of the two in the second half but neither side looked like breaking the deadlock.
Both sides used stand-in coaches for the game, with Jose Pekerman resigning as Colombia boss last week and Argentina still to replace Jorge Sampaoli, who left his post after the World Cup. Argentina, who were without Lionel Messi, fielded a young side and they were unable to make much headway against the more experienced Colombians.
“I think we did what we set out to do,” interim coach Lionel Scaloni said. “These lads now know what it is like to wear the Argentina shirt. Today several of them showed they will be giving us something to shout about (in the future).” Argentina’s next match is scheduled for Oct 16 against Brazil in Saudi Arabia, while Colombia will take on the United States in Tampa, also in October.