Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Hulk scores rocket to hand Brazil 1-0 win over Costa Rica


Hulk celebrated his return to the Brazil side with a 10th-minute strike to give Dunga’s men a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on Saturday in a New Jersey friendly.

In his first appearance in a Brazil squad since the FIFA World Cup debacle last year, the forward stated his case to start in their first 2018 World Cup qualifying game next month against Chile in Santiago.

He pounced on a loose ball in the box, eluding a defender and firing home for the only goal of the game at the Red Bull Arena.

Despite a dearth of chances for Costa Rica — playing under coach Oscar Ramirez for the first time — Brazil were unable to build on the lead, with chances for Marcelo and Douglas Costa going begging after the break.

Neymar, with the squad for two North American friendlies even though he is suspended for the first two World Cup qualifiers because of his Copa America red card, came off the bench 10 minutes from time.

However, Dunga’s team were unable to find a second goal.

They had put Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton — in for Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas — to work quickly as he denied a free-kick from Hulk and a low close-range blast from David Luiz in the seventh minute.

Brazil’s aggressive start was rewarded in the 10th minute, when Hulk thundered into the area and got past Giancarlo Gonzalez.

Six minutes later Pemberton saved a scorcher from Fernandinho.

While Costa Rica did well to limit Brazil, Ramirez’s men had few chances.

Their best opportunity came in the 55th minute when Bryan Ruiz’s goal was ruled offside.

Both teams were playing their first match since losing in the quarter-finals of their continental championships this year.

Brazil were eliminated by Paraguay at the Copa America, while Costa Rica lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Costa Rica take on South Africa next month before beginning North and Central American World Cup qualifying in November.

Brazil face the US tomorrow at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

The two friendlies are to be Brazil’s only warm-up games before World Cup qualifying next month against Chile and Venezuela.

In Saturday’s other international friendlies, the US beat Peru 2-1, while Paraguay lost 3-2 to Chile.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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