Defending Copa América champions Brazil defended hard with 10 men to advance to the semifinals with a 1-0 victory against Chile on Friday. Substitutes Lucas Paquet scored the only goal of the game just seconds before Gabriel Jesus what came out early in the second helped.
Winner of Paquet to the left corner of the Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo In the 46th minute, Brazil fans gave hope that the Selecao would move on to the next stage. But just two minutes later Jesus was expelled after hitting Chile Eugenio Mena with a flying kick.
Neymar and Brazil coach Tite said after the game that Jesus did not see Mena and accidentally kicked him while trying to regain possession in midfield.
Brazil worked so hard on defense that Chile made fewer shots on goal after Jesus was sent off than during the time he played; two against three.
“Defending well is our characteristic, “Brazil Thiago silva saying. “Regardless of what we did today, we conceded few goals. Always with 10, we create clear opportunities. I am very proud of this team, for their fighting spirit.”
Paquet entered the field of play after a tense first half with few opportunities for both sides. He replaced Roberto Firmino.
Brazil did not stop threatening Chile with Neymar’s dribbling and quick counterattacks. But Chile was much closer to the tie; had an Eduardo Vargas placeholder image goal disallowed for offside and English-Chilean Ben Brereton hit the crossbar with a header in the 68th minute.
Neymar, exhausted, said after the game that playing with 10 men was a great test for Brazil. He was not close to scoring like in other Copa América matches, but he was key in maintaining possession.
“In each game we need to do some tests to become stronger, to show that we can do it in any circumstance.“Said Neymar.”We had to be together. It was very difficult to do. “
Arturo Vidal from Chile said that his team will leave the tournament with some pride.
“We lost to a great team, a home favorite“, He said.” If we play the way we play today, with a little more time to work, this team will clearly regain its intensity. We hope to qualify for the World Cup. It will be difficult, but we can. “
Peru advanced to the semifinal after beating Paraguay on penalties 4-3 after a 3-3 score in regulation time, in the most exciting Copa América match to date.
Brazil and Peru played the last Copa América final in 2019, with the hosts winning 3-1. Jesús was also expelled in that match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio. Monday’s match will be at the same Nilton Santos Stadium where Brazil beat Chile.
Brazilian coach Tite, who was recently fined by CONMEBOL for criticizing the organization of the tournament, once again criticized the quality of Nilton Santos’ field, despite the small improvements made recently.
“If I was watching it from home I’d say this could have been a good game, and look what it is … Ederson had a hard time throwing goal kicks“Tite said.” Please be responsible. I recognize that people are trying to improve the field, but find a better field so that we can play. “
The Copa América final will be played at the Maracana Stadium on July 10.