Brazil 3-0 New Zealand: Danilo, Damiao and Sandro seal Group C top spot
Mano Menezes' side advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympics after comfortable victory over the All Whites despite having midfielder Alex Sandro sent off in the second half.
By Simon Sinclair
Mano Menezes’ side took the lead in the 23rd through Danilo after great attacking move culminated in a one-two with Damiao leaving the midfielder with a simple finish past Michael O’Keeffe.
It was two shortly after as after another sublime bit of play the Internacional striker who slotted the ball into the net.
The Tottenham midfielder added a third just after halftime with a powerful strike into the bottom corner while the only negative to come from the game for Brazil was when Alex Sandro was sent off for two bookable offenses.
After securing qualification from Group C with a win over Belarus in the club's last game. Menezes rested several players including keeper Neto, Romulo, Oscar, Hulk and Alexandre Pato. In came Porto duo Danilo and Alex Sandro, Lucas Moura, Damiao and keeper Gabriel.
New Zealand coach Neil Emblen made kept an unchanged team from his side that drew 1-1 with Egypt. West Brom striker Chris Wood who scored in that game continued to lead the line alongside strike partner Shane Smeltz.
Brazil started the game well and immediately controlled possession with accurate passing and good movement. Neymar showed his predatory instincts to get behind the All Whites defense and slot past O’Keeffe but was frustratingly ruled offside as he wheeled away in celebration.
The Santos striker was again in the action moments later and should have given his side the lead after great work from Marcelo who beat two men before crossing for Neymar but he couldn’t get good contact on the ball from eight yards and his effort went harmlessly past the post.
After weathering the early storm from Selecao, Emblen’s side began to grow in confidence and started to take the attack to the Brazilians and Rojas produced a decent effort after a lovely run down the left but his shot was comfortably held by Gabriel.
New Zealand committed more men forward but this was to cost them as Brazil hit on the break and took the lead through Danilo. The Porto man played a sublime one-two with Damiao on the edge of the Kiwi box and slotted the ball past O’Keeffe.
Menezes’ side doubled the lead minutes later through Damiao after another excellent move. Marcelo hit a delightful back-heeled pass to Alex Sandro setting him free in the box. He then squared the ball for Internacional striker who was left with a simple tap into an empty net.
Brazil seemed content knocking the ball around and waiting patiently for chances to come rather than force the issue as the half wore on. Neymar and Damiao had half-chances but neither threatened O’Keeffe in the Kiwi goal.
The Selecao came out in the second half with the same tempo they had in the first and quickly settled into their passing game as the All Whites sat back to absorb the pressure.
Brazil seemed very comfortable and duly got the third goal through Sandro who coasted in at the back post, latching onto to a free kick from Marcelo and rifling the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
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