Fri, Sep 21, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Neymar’s late penalty hands Brazil victory

Reuters, GOIANIA, Brazil

Neymar converted a penalty with the final kick of the match to hand Brazil a 2-1 win over archrivals Argentina in a friendly international at the Serra Dourada in Goiania, Brazil, on Wednesday.

The penalty, awarded for a handball by Argentina defender Leandro Desabato, turned chants from local fans against Brazil coach Mano Menezes into joyful celebration at the late victory.

Fans called for the return of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning coach Luis Felipe Scolari, unhappy with the trouble Menezes’ team, with several first choice players, were having in creating chances against a second-string Argentina.

The match was the first of two between teams drawn only from the domestic leagues of two great South American rivals. They meet again in the northern Argentine city of Resistencia on Oct. 3.

Menezes told reporters he had no complaints with the fans and said they had only expressed their disapproval after he brought off Sao Paulo’s Lucas, who had been playing well, for tactical reasons.

“The fans have their preferences, but my job is to try to make the national team improve and it did, and that’s how we got a victory in the end,” he said.

Neymar said: “I don’t think you should jeer during the game, you’ve got to wait till it’s over. No one likes to be jeered, no one likes to be criticized, that’s why we give our best on the field.”

Argentina, on the back foot for the opening 20 minutes, went ahead in their first dangerous incursion into the Brazil penalty area.

Striker Juan Manuel Martinez, who plays in Brazil for Corinthians, passed out wide to Clemente Rodriguez, before racing into the box to collect the leftback’s cross and beat goalkeeper Jefferson with a shot inside the near post.

Brazil equalized six minutes later from a free-kick taken by Neymar on the right, with midfielder Paulinho offside according to television replays when he moved forward to head past goalkeeper Oscar Ustari.

“It was a lovely move,” Martinez told a reporter about Argentina’s goal.

“Desabato was fouled in the penalty incident. Anyway, we played well, with an intelligent game plan against a great team. [Brazil] didn’t create clear chances,” he said.

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