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Monday , November 19 2018

Uruguay, Argentina rack up big wins

Neymar, Firmino on target as Brazil cruise over US

LOS ANGELES, Sept 8, (Agencies): A Luis Suarez brace, the second a cheeky ‘Panenka’ penalty, helped Uruguay ease to 4-1 win over Mexico, while Argentina rebounded from a poor World Cup to thump Guatemala 3-0 in a pair of big friendly wins in the United States on Friday.

The Uruguayans, knocked out of the World Cup by eventual winners France in the quarter-finals, took the lead in Houston in the 21st minute thanks to Jose Maria Gimenez before Raul Jimenez equalized from the spot for Mexico four minutes later.

Man of the Match Suarez grabbed his double in nine first-half minutes, the second an audacious 40th minute chipped penalty, before Gaston Pereiro completed the scoring on the hour mark with his first international goal.

Jimenez could have pulled one back for Mexico, but his second penalty of the match was saved by keeper Fernando Muslera with 16 minutes remaining.

In Los Angeles, a new-look Argentina, missing Lionel Messi, who is taking a sabbatical from international football, and the retired Javier Mascherano, were still too strong for an inexperienced Central American opposition.

Gonzalo Martinez got Argentina’s first from the penalty spot after 27 minutes, before Giovani Lo Celso doubled their lead eight minutes later with a sweetly struck half volley from 25 meters.

Giovani Simeone, son of Athletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, scored the third on his national team debut two minutes before halftime to complete the scoring.

The game petered out in a second half following a raft of substitutions but the win was a welcome tonic for a team that disappointed in Russia, handing caretaker coach Lionel Scaloni a solid start.

“Ever since I was a boy my dad told me that one day I would be here,” a delighted Simeone told reporters. “No matter the rival, there was a lot of anxiety to see this new Argentina. In the first half we did everything we had to do.” In another friendly involving South American sides in the United States, Colombia came from behind to beat neighbours Venezuela 2-1 in Miami.

Darwin Machis put Venezuela ahead after just three minutes, but Radamel Falcao equalized with a header nine minutes into the second half before Yimmi Chara got the final touch to a goalmouth scramble to seal Colombia’s win in the last minute.

Argentina take on Colombia in New Jersey next Tuesday, the same day Mexico play the United States in Nashville.

Guatemala play Ecuador in Bridgeview, Illinois, while Brazil, who beat the US 2-0 earlier on Friday, go to Maryland to play El Salvador.

Roberto Firmino and Neymar scored the goals as Brazil cruised to a 2-0 friendly victory over an inexperienced United States.

Brazil, playing their first international since a disappointing World Cup quarter-final exit, were in complete control throughout a low-key encounter at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The South American giants had won their previous 10 games against the United States, whose lone victory came way back in 1998.

There was never much doubt that Brazil would extend their winning record to 11 consecutive wins as they dominated throughout against an American team who are rebuilding after their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Brazil glided through a one-sided first half, with the hosts paying the price for repeatedly squandering possession cheaply.

The opening goal came after 11 minutes, when Juventus winger Douglas Costa found himself in space on the right flank.

British-born left-back Antonee Robinson rushed in to close down Costa, but was left for dead as the Brazilian skipped past him all too easily before picking out Firmino with a pinpoint low cross.

The Liverpool forward tapped in an easy finish past Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen for 1-0.

Costa had Robinson in trouble again after 31 minutes, going clear to whip in another low cross. This time however Neymar was unable to get on the end of it as the Americans cleared.

In the 39th minute Steffen saved smartly from Liverpool signing Fabinho as Brazil continued to exert pressure.

The South Americans doubled their lead three minutes from half-time when US captain Wil Trapp clipped Fabinho in the penalty area.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar stepped up to stroke in his 58th international goal in his 91st game.

Neymar, who was handed the captain’s armband by manager Tite for this game, is now only five goals away from surpassing Ronaldo in second place on Brazil’s all-time scoring charts.

Ronaldo has 62 goals, while Pele tops the charts with 77.

Brazil’s sense of superiority was underscored by the fact that Brazil goalkeeper Alisson was not required to make a save until the 71st minute, turning around a low shot from Trapp.

US coach Dave Sarachan, who has spent nearly a year as the team’s caretaker boss following the exit of Bruce Arena after the World Cup debacle, admitted his team had paid the price for ceding possession too cheaply.

“We played one of the best teams in the world,” Sarachan said.

“We were a little nervy. Probably should have done a little better with the ball, but that’s why you play these games.

“It wasn’t going to be an easy night when you play a team like Brazil.”

 

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