Heavyweights Brazil entertained the vibrant Kochi crowd to register a 2-1 over Spain in their opening game in Group D of the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday.
Wesley Andrade (5' OG) was guilty of putting the ball into his own net early on but Lincoln Dos Santos (25') equalized for the Samba Nation. Paulinho Filho (45+1) ensured that Brazil secured all three points before the half-time break.
Brazil skipper Vitao marshalled the defence in a 4-3-3 formation with Lincoln leading the line in the absence of the Real Madrid signing Vinicius Jr. Paulinho. Brenner provided support from the flanks with playmaker Alan slotting into midfield along with Marcos Antonio and Victor Bobsin.
Spain's flexible starting line-up was lead by the in-form FC Barcelona product Abel Ruiz, who is known for scoring goals game after game. Ferran Torres and Carlos Betia were tasked with providing the supply for him, while Jaume Mateu marshalled the defence with Alvaro Fernandez in goal.
Spain started the match brightly and it was the European champions who threatened in the first few minutes of the game. Abel Ruiz spurned his shot wide after being put through on goal by a good ball from midfield.
They did not have to wait too long to open the scoring though, as Ferran Torres crossed in from the right for Moukhliss, who slotted the ball into the net via a deflection off Wesley to make it 1-0 for his team. Unfortunately for the defender, it was credited as an own goal.
The opening goal seemed to wake Brazil up, as Alan and co. started bossing the midfield with the majority of the ball possession. The South American team had the perfect chance to equalize through Paulinho when the no.7's shot deflected off the keeper and into the path of Lincoln but the striker couldn't control it goalwards.
The equalizer came in the 25th minute and it wasn't against the run of play. Brenner perfectly crossed for Lincoln inside the box, who hit the net on his second attempt.
The game became a midfield battle after the equalizer but Brazil had firm control over the game. They were good in possession and that resulted in a second goal just before the break.
Marcos Antonio picked out Paulinho inside the box with a deliciously lobbed ball and the right-sided winger made no mistake in hitting the net to make it 2-1 just before the half-time whistle.
Once again, it was Spain who came out of the blocks quickly. Their attacking third football, however, left a lot to be desired. Substitute Victor Perea came into play through the right after a clever free-kick allowed him time and space on the ball to put in a cross. Victor Chust couldn't get ahead of his marker inside the box to slot it in.
Alan picked up a needless yellow but he was the midfield maestro for Brazil on the day. Spain kept trying to carve through an opening for their equalizer but to no avail.
Both teams continued to test the goalkeeper one by one but in the end, there was a little too much respect on show by both teams. Spain struggled to find an end product and Brazil countered with ease throughout the second half.
With Spain hungry for a goal, Brazil hit them on the counter at will. Marcos Antonio took on his marker and beat him for pace on one such opportunity in the final few minutes but his cross for Paulinho in the middle was cut out by the goalkeeper.
Brazil, who entered the tournament as the most decorated team in this age-group amongst the ones qualified, stamped their authority as their midfield totally outclassed Spain's. Brazil face DPR Korea while Spain play Niger next.