Star forward Neymar on Sunday netted a penalty and created a second as hosts Brazil eased to a 3-0 victory over a depleted Venezuela in the opening match of the Copa America.
Centerback Marquinhos opened the scored midway through the first half and Gabriel Barbosa sealed the Group B win a minute from time.
In a tournament already delayed by one year, and moved from its original hosts Argentina and Colombia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was fitting that the coronavirus should take center stage right up to the tournament kickoff.
Played at an empty Estadio Mane Garrincha in Brasilia due to COVID-19 restrictions, Brazil made light of the continent’s minnows, who arrived with a makeshift side missing eight players who were ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19 the day before.
Venezuela called up 15 emergency replacements, but could still only name seven out of a possible 12 substitutes.
“It’s not just being without key players, we didn’t have time to prepare better for this team,” Venezuela coach Jose Peseiro said.
The game went ahead and, predictably, reigning champions Brazil were well on top.
“The three points are important. We had to start well regardless of our rivals having players out,” Brazil captain Casemiro said.
Edwin Cardona scored the only goal of the game as Colombia held on under second-half pressure to begin their Group B campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador — who thrashed them 6-1 the last time the sides met in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in November last year.
Colombia’s goal was a thing of beauty, with Cardona taking a short free-kick to Juan Cuadrado, who chipped the ball into the penalty area for Miguel Borja to head down into the path of Cardona, who volleyed home.
It was initially disallowed for offside, but a review showed that while three Colombia players were beyond the defensive line, Cardona and Borja were onside.
Ecuador came close to a second-half equalizer through Pervis Estupinan, but Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina brilliantly tipped his free-kick around the post.
TWO AND TWO: Lin Chen-hao of Taiwan finished seventh in the women’s U-48kg category, winning two bouts before losses the quarter-finals and a repechage match Naohisa Takato yesterday won Japan’s first gold medal at their home Olympics, beating Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei in the men’s under-60kg judo final. Yang’s second-place finish is Taiwan’s first medal in Tokyo and the nation’s first-ever medal in an Olympics judo competition. Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s under-48kg final less than an hour before Takato made sure that his team would not have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art. Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but he took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed
Four key men’s doubles pairings — dubbed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as “the group of death” — are to take over two courts side-by-side today just after midday in Tokyo, in matches that already have the badminton world abuzz. What is formally known as Group A pits pairings from Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Britain against one another — the former three ranked in the top 10. Taiwanese pairing Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin are set to challenge Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India, while world No. 1 duo Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia are to
After complaining about flying economy class to the Olympic Games, Taiwanese badminton player Tai Tzu-ying appeared satisfied with her hotel room in Tokyo, praising its proximity to the badminton venue. “It saves commuting time and allows more time to rest,” the 27-year-old Tai wrote on Instagram yesterday morning. “It’s very good.” The Athletes’ Village is about 50 minutes by car from the badminton venue, but the hotel is only a 10-minute drive, she said. “It’ll give me more time to rest and prepare, whether before or after a match,” Tai added. Taiwan’s badminton team is staying at the Marroad Inn Tokyo in Chofu City,
KEEP ’EM COMING: In her first Olympic appearance, Lo set a high bar, fighting her way to the final bouts, and earning Taiwan its second medal after Yang Yung-wei’s silver Taiwan’s Lo Chia-ling yesterday clinched the nation’s second medal at the Tokyo Olympics, grabbing a bronze medal in taekwondo in the women’s 57kg class. Nineteen-year-old Lo beat Nigeria’s Tekiath Ben Yessouf 10-6 at Tokyo’s Makuhari Messe convention center. Lo, who is making her first appearance in the Olympic Games, worked her way to the bronze medal contest with an early 20-18 win against South Korea’s Lee Ah-reum in the round of 16, before dropping Canada’s Skylar Park 18-7 in the quarter-final. It was Anastasija Zolotic of the US who denied the former World Taekwondo Junior Championship gold medalist a chance to fight for