Brazil kick off Copa with win vs. Venezuela

Clubs

Brazil kicked off another Copa America on home soil with a comfortable 3-0 win over Venezuela in Brasilia on Sunday, with Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa providing the goals to get the hosts’ campaign off to a strong start.

The Selecao opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, taking advantage of one of six first-half corner kicks. Neymar’s service pinballed around the area before falling to the thigh of Marquinhos. With Venezuela goalkeeper Joel Graterol stumbling in the wrong direction, the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back settled the ball and rolled it into the net.

Richarlison had the ball in the back of the net two minutes later, seeming to hand Brazil a commanding two-goal advantage, only to be adjudged offside and the goal called back. And on the half-hour mark, Neymar danced his way into a free shooting opportunity from the top of the box, only to put his effort narrowly past the post.

Copa America bracket and fixtures schedule

The missed chances would continue in the second half. Seven minutes after half-time Gabriel Jesus fizzed a low cross across the area, with Neymar arriving unmarked at the far post, but Brazil’s No. 10 couldn’t make contact with his sliding effort.

But Brazil would get their second in the 64th minute when Neymar converted from the spot, sending Graterol the wrong way and coolly rolling the ball into the bottom right corner. The hosts were awarded the penalty after Yohan Cumana took down Danilo near the byline.

Gabriel Barbosa made it three after chesting home a Neymar cross in the 89th minute, putting the result beyond all doubt.

Brazil will next be in action on Thursday, when they take on Peru. Venezuela earlier that day when they face Colombia.

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