Neymar and Lucas lead Brazil to victory
Belem (Brazil): A sparkling performance from Brazil wonderkid Lucas was the key for Mano Menezes` team, as they finally broke down Argentina to run out 2-0 winners in a game more one-sided than the scoreline suggested.
The 19-year-old opened the scoring in the second-half with a 50m run and finish on the counter, before Neymar sealed the victory with a close-range finish which bobbled over the line thanks to an Argentine deflection.
Spurred on by a fanatical home crowd in Belem, which exploded with shrill screams every time Neymar in particular received the ball, Brazil dominated proceedings throughout the first 45 minutes. The Argentines looked more-or-less solid at the back, but were pinned in their own half by the incursions of the Selecao wide men and offered little attacking threat.
Teenage starlet Lucas was in electric form in the first 45 minutes, and tortured the Argentine defence with his running from deep. In the opening stages he stormed forward before firing just wide, and even a bloody nose following a forearm in the face from Emiliano Papa did not slow him down.
Inspired by the Sao Paulo talent, Brazil had by far the best chances of the half. Agustin Orion in the Albiceleste net did very well to block Neymar`s shot after the ball rebounded in the striker`s path on the edge of the area, while Ronaldinho will be frustrated that he blasted two well-placed free kicks over the bar. Cristian Cellay meanwhile had one of Argentina`s best chances when his shot was blocked by defenders after a corner; but it was Neymar who could have easily opened the scoring for the hosts.
With five minutes left of the half, Lucas once more skipped past his markers to approach the area, and he delicately slipped the ball to Borges on the right. The powerful forward squared for his Santos team mate, but Neymar somehow failed to make contact on the ball with the goal begging, ensuring Argentina would hold on to enter the break at 0-0.
Alejandro Sabella`s team attacked with a little more purpose after half-time, and Augusto Fernandez came close to giving the visitors a surprise lead. The Velez man smashed the ball to force a save from Jefferson; but seconds later it would be Brazil in the ascendancy.
The Argentines were caught hopelessly out of place following a corner, and Lucas was released on a blistering counter-attack. The youngster easily outstripped the chasing Desabato and Papa, and slotted with assurance past Orion to score the first goal of the two game series.
The strike lifted the Canarinha men, and the creative trio of Neymar, Ronaldinho and Lucas streamed forward at will as they finally appeared to be enjoying the friendly clash. Only some determined last-ditch defending prevented the Argentines slipping further behind as the pressure built, although this came at the expense of any real offensive capability.
The Argentines still came forward in sporadic bursts, one of the best chances occurring when substitute Mario Bolatti forced a simple save with a weak header. Brazil though looked supremely comfortable, and sealed victory with 15 minutes left when Neymar bundled in from close-range to polish off a fluid passing move - much more fluid in fact than the dancing which followed the goal.
Boca striker Lucas Viatri forced a wonderful save from Jefferson, but it was not enough and Brazil never looked like letting go of the lead. The win hands Mano Menezes` side victory in the first-ever Superclasico de las Americas series, and is more than welcome for a coach who had seen the pressure build after the Copa America.