In the build-up to the game there was absolute chaos with the Venezuelan contingent reporting 13 positive COVID-19 cases. They were forced into flying in replacements and were unable to name a full bench for the opening game.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s football team too had made their displeasure known about hosting the Copa America in the country after a COVID-19 surge had forced the tournament to move from Argentina. Brazil, remember, is one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing pandemic.
As expected, it was Brazil who dominated proceedings for the majority of the game, causing the much-changed Venezuela side quite a bit of concern.
The hosts threatened to storm ahead from the get-go but failed to make their early superiority count. They had to wait till the 23rd minute to take the lead when defender Marquinhos bundled it home from close range.
Soon after Richarlison had a goal disallowed, rightfully, due to offside before Neymar had a shy after cutting in from the left – but failed to hit the target.
Early in the second half, Gabriel Jesus was able to find space down the right and fired in a low cross towards Neymar at the far post but the world’s most expensive footballer wasn’t able to finish off a sitter by his standards. The superstar forward though was the driving force behind most attacking moves by the hosts.
Shortly after the hour mark, Brazil doubled their lead as Neymar scored his 67th international goal from the penalty spot after Danilo was brought down by Yohan Cumana inside the box. Neymar is now 10 goals away from from Pele’s all-time record for Brazil.
Neymar almost found the back of the net again with a superb solo run, starting off around 30 yards from goal, waltzing through the defenders, only to have his shot deflected for a corner.
Brazil put the game beyond any doubt after Neymar went past the keeper and clipped it back towards the penalty spot for Gabriel Barbosa to chest it home, as the defending champions completed an emphatic win.
. Read more on Football by The Quint.Neymar Inspired Brazil Win 3-0 Against COVID-19-Hit Venezuela Dumfries Helps Netherlands Edge Out Ukraine in 5-Goal Thriller . Read more on Football by The Quint.