Saturday, July 13, 2024

Paraguay 1-4 Brazil: Vinicius stars in Selecao´s statement win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Jun 2024

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Vinicius Junior played a starring role as Brazil kick-started their Copa America campaign with a commanding 4-1 victory over 10-man Paraguay, who were eliminated from the competition.

The Real Madrid forward scored twice for the Selecao, who opened the tournament with a drab goalless draw against Costa Rica on Monday, while Savinho and Lucas Paqueta were also on target at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Dorival Junior’s side subsequently closed in on a quarter-final spot by moving onto four points in Group D – two behind leaders Colombia, who they will join in the last eight with a draw when the nations meet in their final group outing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Omar Alderete’s wonderful long-range strike proved academic for Paraguay, as La Albirroja bowed out following their second successive defeat, which was compounded by a late Andres Cubas red card.

Brazil were presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark. Referee Piero Maza Gomez pointed straight to the penalty spot as Paqueta’s shot struck Cubas’ arm, but the West Ham midfielder could only fire wide from 12 yards out.

Nevertheless, Brazil broke through four minutes later as a lovely move culminated in Vinicius latching onto Paqueta’s throughball, and drilling under Rodrigo Morinigo’s dive.

The Selecao doubled their lead when Savinho tapped home in the 43rd minute, and it was 3-0 in stoppage time – albeit in fortunate circumstances – as Alderete’s attempted stabbed clearance ricocheted back into the net off the onrushing Vinicius.

The Paraguay centre-half atoned for his mistake in spectacular fashion three minutes after the restart, with a superb 25-yard volley reducing the deficit.

Alisson Becker then pushed Julio Enciso’s dangerous curling strike away during an impressive spell by Daniel Garnero’s side.

However, any hopes they had of a fightback were quashed in the 64th minute when Mathias Villasanti was adjudged to have handled Savinho’s shot, with Paqueta making no mistake from the spot this time.

Paraguay’s misery was compounded with nine minutes remaining, when Cubas was given his marching orders for lashing out at Douglas Luiz.

Vinicius at the double in Brazil victory

This had the potential to be awkward for Brazil, who were winless in their last five Copa America meetings with Paraguay, and they were fresh from that disappointing draw with Costa Rica.

The Selecao enjoyed 74% of possession, completed 695 passes and registered 19 shots in their opener, but to no avail.

However, they scored from four of their six attempts on target today to tighten their grip on second place in Group D, and all but secure their quarter-final spot – with third-place Costa Rica requiring a six-goal swing to displace Dorival’s side.

Having recorded the lowest tallies of touches (45) and passes (23) by any outfield starter for Brazil on matchday one, Vinicius looked back to his best here with the most goals (two), dribbles (17), duels (21) and touches in opposition box (11).of any player.

Savinho – brought into the starting line-up after his impressive cameo from the bench against Costa Rica – also got in on the act with his first senior international goal.

Powerless Paraguay bow out

Paraguay do have pedigree when it comes to the Copa America. Two-time winners in 1953 and 1979, they arrived in the United States having only suffered two group-stage exits in the 21st century.

However, it was La Albirroja’s overall record that was the concern, having only registered three wins from a possible 15 heading into this game.

They had also lost each of their 18 previous matches when conceding the first goal, so things looked fairly ominous when Vinicius broke through and paved the way for Brazil’s late first-half flurry.

To their credit, Paraguay responded well after the break with Alderete’s wonderful goal and Enciso testing Alisson, and they managed to match the Selecao’s six shots on target throughout the contest.

Nevertheless, overturning such a deficit was always going to be a tough ask, and Brazil eventually got back on track to see out a comfortable victory, which means Garnero’s side join Jamaica in the departure lounge.

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