Neymar stunner gives Brazil win over Colombia
A superb 83rd minute free-kick from captain Neymar gave Brazil a winning start under new coach Dunga as they beat Colombia 1-0 in a fiercely contested friendly on Friday.
Colombia played most of the second half down a man after midfielder Juan Cuadrado was sent off in the 49th minute following a second yellow card for a foul on Neymar and there was no shortage of effort – or indeed rough challenges – from both teams.
New Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao made his return to the Colombian team as a 77th minute substitute in front of a capacity 73,429 crowd at SunLife stadium.
Dunga, in his second spell as coach, replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari following the Selecao’s humiliating home World Cup campaign, which included a 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals.
Colombia’s last outing was their infamous 2-1 defeat to Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals – a match which saw Neymar suffer a tournament ending injury after a knee in the back from Camilo Zuniga.
Zuniga and Neymar captained their respective teams and while there was no sign of animosity between the pair, the Barcelona forward came in for some rough attention from the Colombians.
Brazil’s Diego Tardelli had an effort ruled out for offside in the 25th minute after good work from left-back Filipe Luis but Dunga’s team should have had the lead seven minutes before the break.
Willian broke down the right and slipped the ball to Oscar but the Chelsea midfielder’s shot was weak and off-target.
With the numerical advantage after Cuadrado’s dismissal Brazil enjoyed the better of the game but it was not until seven minutes from the end that they broke through – a curling 25 metre free-kick from Neymar that flew into the top corner out of David Ospina’s reach.
Falcao’s introduction delighted the mostly Colombian crowd but the striker, still easing back from the knee ligament injury which cost him his place at the World Cup, will be disappointed not to have found the target with a header from close range in the final minute.