Brazil outclass South Korea in Abu Dhabi friendly - GulfToday

Brazil outclass South Korea in Abu Dhabi friendly

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Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring a goal against South Korea during their friendly match at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Brazil ended a run of five games without a win by easing to a 3-0 victory over South Korea in a friendly in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with Philippe Coutinho scoring the pick of the goals.

Coutinho, currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, curled a free-kick from 22 yards high into the net to put Brazil 2-0 up after 35 minutes.

Before that he had played a part in the opener, producing some delightful footwork to pick out Renan Lodi, whose cross from the left was headed in from close range by AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta.

Atletico Madrid left-back Lodi, 21, also set up the third goal which arrived shortly after half-time, his low delivery picking out Danilo to score with a first-time drive from just outside the area.

Once again Neymar was absent for Brazil, with the world’s most expensive player having stayed behind at Paris Saint-Germain to work on his fitness after suffering an injury playing for his country in a 1-1 draw with Nigeria in Singapore a month ago.

Perhaps his absence helped explain why the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium was barely half full for the game.

Coach Tite made five changes to his starting line-up following the Argentina defeat, with Lodi and Coutinho coming into the side along with PSG centre-back Marquinhos, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho and Everton forward Richarlison.

Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz was handed his debut as a late substitute in what is a reassuring victory for Brazil before they start South American World Cup qualifying next March.

The match extended South Korea’s poor run, with the Asian side now having gone three games without scoring.

The friendly was Brazil’s last before they begin their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in March next year.

It is a first victory in six friendly outings for the Selecao since their triumph at the Copa America on home soil in July.

All of those matches have been played on neutral ground, with this match coming after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina.

Five days after a 0-0 draw in Lebanon in a 2022 World Cup qualifier, South Korea were outclassed here, despite the presence of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min in their line-up.

Lionel Messi struck on his return to international duty following a three-month ban as Argentina beat fierce rivals Brazil 1-0 in a friendly in Riyadh.

The Barcelona forward was suspended by CONMEBOL for accusing South American football’s ruling body of “corruption” after he was sent off in July’s third-place play-off with Chile at the Copa America.

Messi netted the only goal of the game at the King Saud University Stadium on 13 minutes, tapping home the rebound after his penalty was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson.

His effort came shortly after Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus rolled a spot-kick wide for Brazil, who were playing without the injured Neymar.

Messi, who scored with a pair of free-kicks in his last game with Barcelona, twice threatened from set pieces in the second half before Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson beat away a powerful drive from Paredes.

Rodrygo, the 18-year-old who scored a sensational Champions League hat-trick with Real Madrid this month, made his Brazil debut as he replaced Willian for the final 20 minutes.

However, Brazil were unable to find an equaliser as their winless run since capturing the Copa America title extended to five matches.

The meeting between the two South American giants was the second in Saudi Arabia in little over a year. Brazil beat Argentina 1-0 in Jeddah in October 2018.

Brazil also defeated Argentina 2-0 at home in the semi-finals of this year’s Copa America, a controversial match that left Messi complaining the hosts had benefited from favouritism.