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Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica: Hulk fires Dunga’s men to narrow victory

Brazil began preparations for their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in New Jersey on Saturday.
In their first game since a disappointing Copa America exit at the hands of Paraguay, Dunga’s experimental side raced out of the blocks and took the lead after 10 minutes.
A loose ball inside the area was pounced upon by an onrushing Hulk, who shook off his man before applying a composed finish.
Despite Costa Rica failing to register a single effort on target, Brazil could not build on their lead, with Marcelo and Douglas Costa both spurning good opportunities after the break.
Neymar came off the bench 10 minutes from time in a bid to find an elusive second, but Dunga’s charges continued to be restricted in the final third.
The result leaves the Brazil coach with plenty of ponder ahead a trip to Foxborough, Massachusetts on Tuesday, where they take on the United States in their last game before World Cup qualifying kicks off against Chile in October.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton, in for Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas, was quickly made to work by Brazil during the opening exchanges – first denying Hulk’s stinging free-kick before getting down low to deny David Luiz from close range on seven minutes.
The five-time world champions continued to threaten and were rewarded for their bright start on 10 minutes when Hulk powered into the area to out-muscle Giancarlo Gonzales and slot home.
Fernandinho stung the palms of Pemberton with a vicious near-post strike six minutes later as Brazil sought to build on their advantage, but a five-man Cost Rican defence began to show resilience during an otherwise dominant performance from their opponents.
Although doing well to limit Brazil to one goal, Oscar Ramirez’s men offered little in the final third.
Bryan Ruiz did have a penalty appeal turned four minutes before the break when he was brought down after being sandwiched in the box by David Luiz and Fernandinho, but Brazil’s debutant goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe remained untroubled.
The pressure on the Costa Rican rearguard was intensified after the break, with Marcelo flashing an effort across goal shortly before bursting through the middle to scuff a drive straight at the keeper.
Bayern winger Costa blazed an effort over the bar after cutting in from the left as the prospect of a second goal seemed increasingly likely.
But just like the first half, Brazil faded, despite the introduction of Neymar 10 minutes from time, with one goal proving enough to condemn Ramirez to defeat in his first game as Costa Rica coach.

Sat 5 Sep, 2015
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