Brazil (BRA) defeat Peru by a solitary goal (PER) to seal a place in the final of Copa America 2021. Lucas Paqueta scored the winner courtesy of a fine move from Neymar. Peru was the better team in the second half, but the Brazil backline stood tall to help Brazil reach a second successive final.
Both teams lost a key member of their squad, as Gabriel Jesus and Andre Carrillo received red cards in their respective quarter-final fixtures. Everton Soares and Paqueta made it to the playing eleven in place of Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus. Meanwhile, Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca bolstered his backline by picking Alexander Callens in place of Carrillo.
Brazil threatened to take the lead early after Paqueta threaded a pass to Richarlison, who rounded the Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and pulled the ball back for Neymar, but the PSG forward’s attempt was off target. Gallese made a double save to deny Neymar and Richarlison in the 19th minute. The 29-year-old’s effort from six yards and Richarlison’s shot from rebound, too, was thwarted by the Peru custodian.
Neymar and Paqueta combined to break the deadlock in the 35th minute. Brazil’s second-highest goalscorer dribbled past two defenders inside the box and looked like hammering the ball into the goal. However, he squared it to Paqueta, who poked it into the empty net to register his second goal in Copa America 2021.
The second half was a different story as Peru took the game to Brazil. Gianluca Lapadula’s powerful left-footer was pushed away to safety by Ederson, while Raziel Garcia, too, had his strike from outside the box saved by the Brazil custodian. With time running out, the 2019 runners-up intensified their efforts for an equalizer and came close in the 82nd minute. Peru defender Alexander Callens saw his header from a free-kick going wide of goal.
Goalscorers: BRA – L Paqueta; PER – none
Assists: BRA – Neymar; PER – none
Top Five Fantasy Points scorers: L Paqueta (16 pts), T Silva (10.5 pts), D Luiz da Silva (9 pts), Marquinhos (9 pts), Neymar (9 pts)
Parameswaran Sankaranarayan is a sports enthusiast who has worked in print, website, and other digital platforms. He was part of the editorial team of first-ever Indian football-based website - IndianFootball.com (now defunct) - and passionately follows the latest happenings in world football. During his time as a journalist, he had the opportunity to interact with some of the iconic personalities in Indian sports and witness some memorable moments in Indian football.
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