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  • Updated: July 06, 2021

Copa America: Paqueta Charges Brazil Past Peru Into Final

Copa America: Paqueta Charges Brazil Past Peru Into Final

Lucas Paqueta | Source: Getty Images

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Oladimeji Balogun
Oladimeji Balogun

Oladimeji Balogun is a graduate of the University of Ilorin where he studied Microbiology, he is a w...

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Neymar Jr came to his country's rescue again as he sets up Lucas Paqueta to score the only goal to give hosts Brazil an edge over Peru to qualify for the Copa America final with a 1-0 scoreline.

The semifinal was a repeat of the last final, two years ago, when a Brazil team shorn of the injured Neymar also triumphed on home soil.

The Selecao will play either Lionel Messi's Argentina or Colombia, who meet in Brasilia on Wednesday, in Saturday's final at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana Stadium.

"I want Argentina. I'm supporting Argentina because I have friends there and Brazil will win the final," said Neymar.

"Paqueta is a great player, he's getting better in every game and in every game with the national team," he said about the 23-year-old match-winner, who plays his club football for Lyon in France.

"He's just had a great season with his club and is showing that he can be a very important player for the Brazilian national team."

Brazil totally dominated the first half at the empty Nilton Santos stadium in Rio but had to survive some nervous moments after the break before securing a spot in the final.

They opened up Peru on eight minutes as Paqueta's pass sent Richarlison in behind the defense, but after beating goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to the ball, the forward tried to pull it back to Neymar who blazed high and wide under pressure.

Gallese spilt a fierce Casemiro free-kick from distance but gathered the loose ball before winger Everton could turn in the rebound.

Brazil were turning the screw and Everton cut in off the right flank but shot straight at Gallese.

The Peruvian shot-stopper was the busiest player on the pitch in the first quarter and after saving another Casemiro piledriver from distance he made an incredible double point-blank save from Neymar and then Richarlison.

And when Gallese suffered a rush of blood to the head and charged out of his area only to be beaten to the ball by Richarlison, Brazil couldn't capitalise as Peru's defenders threw themselves in front of Everton's shot.

Peru were non-existent as an attacking force and when they did manage to win a corner just after the half-hour, they ended up playing the ball all the way back to Gallese.

Brazil deservedly took the lead 10 minutes before halftime after Peru gave the ball away in midfield for the umpteenth time.

Neymar's twinkling toes got him free of three defenders in the box and he teed off Paqueta to fire home from 12 yards.

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Oladimeji Balogun
Oladimeji Balogun

Oladimeji Balogun is a graduate of the University of Ilorin where he studied Microbiology, he is a w...

More From this Author

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Brazil
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The Brazil national football team represents Brazil in men's international football and is administered by the Brazilian Football Confed...

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Peru National Football Team represents Peru in men's international football governed by the Peruvian Football Federation Head co...

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