• Neymar doubles as Brazil thumps USA

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    Neymar no.10 of Brazil handles the ball during an international friendly against the United States at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday in Foxboro, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO

    Neymar no.10 of Brazil handles the ball during an international friendly against the United States at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday in Foxboro, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO

    FOXBOROUGH, United States: Barcelona superstar Neymar scored twice as Brazil thrashed the United States 4-1 to equal the Americans’ heaviest margin of defeat under manager Jurgen Klinsmann in a friendly international here on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

    The USA, looking for an encouraging display as they prepare for a crucial Confederations Cup play-off against Mexico next month, were run ragged as Brazil turned on the style at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

    The scoreline matched the worst ever suffered by the Americans under Klinsmann, who were beaten 4-1 by Brazil in 2012 and 4-1 by Ireland in 2014.

    Brazil, who face a daunting opening to their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign away to Chile next month, were always in control.

    Veteran striker Hulk and youngster Rafinha scored the five-time world champion’s other goals.

    Substitute Danny Williams scored a late consolation for the Americans, lashing home a 30-yard screamer in the 90th minute.

    The South Americans dominated a one-sided first half, threatening to run riot against an experimental United States formation featuring Alejandro Bedoya playing in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role.

    The Brazilians swept forward confidently and did not have long to wait until their early superiority was rewarded with the first goal.

    Chelsea star Willian burst clear of two American defenders down the right flank and curled a looping cross beyond US keeper Brad Guzan.

    As the Aston Villa goalkeeper dithered, the ball rebounded off the inside of the upright and fell kindly to Hulk, who cut back towards goal to wrong-foot defender DeAndre Yedlin to bludgeon home for 1-0.

    The USA’s lone attack of the first half came shortly afterwards when Yedlin, the Tottenham player currently on loan at Sunderland, surged down the flank and crossed for Jozy Altidore, whose shot on the run was blocked.

    Klinsmann acknowledged the Bedoya experiment had left the Americans exposed and swiftly replaced him with Williams on 36 minutes.

    Yet Brazil almost doubled their lead three minutes before the break when Marcelo thumped a ferocious angled shot towards the top corner that Guzan did well to parry away.

    Enter Neymar
    Dunga brought Neymar on at half-time and the Barcelona superstar, who will be suspended for the Selecao’s clash with Chile next month, made an instant impact.

    David Luiz released Neymar into acres of space down the right and the number 10 cut back inside only to have Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron sweep his legs from beneath him for a cast-iron penalty.

    Neymar duly stepped up to rifle home the spot-kick — his 45th international goal — to make it 2-0.

    Rafinha was the next to find the target, deftly finishing after an exquisite pass from Lucas Moura for Brazil’s third goal in the 64th minute.

    Another superb ball by Paris Saint-Germain’s Moura set up Neymar to make it 4-0 in the 67th minute, the Barcelona player shooting low through a crowd of USA defenders to beat Guzan once more.

    It could have been worse if Rafinha had not dragged a shot wide with the goal begging in the 70th minute.

    AFP

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