Tokyo [Japan], June 6 (ANI): Japan slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against the five-time world champions Brazil in Tokyo in an international friendly match on Monday.
Neymar scored from the penalty spot as Brazil downed the Samurai Blue at the National Stadium in Tokyo after an impressive performance by goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda had frustrated the Paris St Germain striker and his teammates.
The Brazilians hit the post inside the first two minutes when Lucas Pacqueta’s effort came back off the woodwork following Neymar’s clever backheel while Manchester United midfielder Fred fired over the bar from distance.
Gonda used his feet to deny Raphina and was on hand again to keep out Neymar’s effort in the 27th minute when he pushed the forward’s perfectly struck curling effort from outside the area away to safety.
The Japanese rarely threatened with Wataru Endo’s downward header bouncing frustratingly wide midway through a difficult first half for Hajime Moriyasu’s side as the home side were often penned in close to their own area.
Gonda denied Neymar again three minutes before the break while Endo used his head to block the Brazilian’s effort eight minutes into the second half. Ko Itakura, meanwhile, pulled off a fine block with 25 minutes to go as Neymar attempted to volley in.
Eventually, the Brazilian pressure paid off, with Neymar at the heart of the action. After seeing the 30-year-old’s initial shot blocked again by Gonda, referee Alireza Faghani was pointing to the spot as Endo clumsily upended Richarlison.
Neymar made no mistake, coolly striking past Gonda to score his 74th goal in 119 games for Brazil to move to within three goals of Pele’s all-time national scoring record.
In Daejeon, South Korea bounced back from their heavy loss at the hands of Brazil to defeat Chile 2-0.
Hwang Hee-chan gave the Taeguk Warriors the lead in the 12th minute when, with the Chilean defence back-pedalling, the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker smashed the ball into the top corner while on the run.
Alex Ibacache’s sending off for a second bookable offence seven minutes into the second half enhanced Korea’s chances of taking the win as they continue their preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November.
Son Heung-min could have doubled the lead with 70 minutes gone only to hit the side-netting.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker, who was making his 100th appearance for the Koreans, made amends in the first minute of injury time when he bent a free-kick from the edge of the area around the wall to give goalkeeper Fernando de Paul no chance. (ANI)