Firmino brace helps Brazil hammer Bolivia in WC qualifier...

Dhaka, Sunday   25 October 2020

Firmino brace helps Brazil hammer Bolivia in WC qualifier

 Sports Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 10:42 AM, 10 October 2020  

Brazil celebrates victory over Bolivia; Photo: Collected

Brazil celebrates victory over Bolivia; Photo: Collected

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino scored a brace as Brazil romped to a 5-0 victory over Bolivia in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos also got on the score sheet while star forward Neymar set up two goals in a totally one-sided encounter that sent Brazil top of the South American qualifying table.

In a Corinthians Arena deserted due to Covid-19 restrictions, Bolivia showed “almost no ambition” as Brazil dominated throughout with PSG’s Neymar starting after overcoming a back problem.

In the first minute, winger Everton volleyed wide from inside the six-yard box and three minutes later his cross was headed off-target by Marquinhos from a similar position.

Bolivia couldn’t get out of their half, or on the ball, as Coutinho and Everton created a slew of chances down Brazil’s left.

The pressure told on 16 minutes as Marquinhos headed home from an identical position to his earlier chance as full-back Danilo swung over a cross from the right following a short corner.

Even a first-half downpour couldn’t dampen Brazil’s thrust as Coutinho forced a diving one-handed save from goalkeeper Carlos Lampe with a deflected shot.

At times it looked like a handball game with Brazil camped on the edge of Bolivia’s box, and the visitors keeping 10 men behind the ball at all times, however, on the half-hour, left-back Renan Lodi got in behind the defense and his cross from the left was turned home from barely a yard out by Firmino.

Lampe made a fine one-handed save from a Casemiro free-kick and then smothered a close-range finish by Neymar.

By the end of the first half, Bolivia had had less than 20 percent possession and their only shot at goal was a free-kick from 40 yards by Fernando Salidas that didn’t even beat the wall.

If there were still any doubts Brazil would stroll to victory, they were dispelled three minutes into the second period when a sublime pass from Neymar presented Firmino with a tap-in from six yards.

On 65 minutes, across from Coutinho flew into the net off the unlucky Jose Carrasco’s chest. Coutinho then got on the scoresheet heading home a cross from Neymar from six yards.

Neymar’s attempts to join retired great Ronaldo as Brazil’s second-highest scorer of all time were frustrated by an offside flag and an injury-time save by Lampe. – AFP/BSS

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