Neymar scored one goal and assisted another in injury time as Brazil snatched a late victory over Peru at the Estadio Municipal German Becker on Sunday, in their opening match of the Copa America.
Peru looked set for a shocker when Christian Cuevas fired Peru into the lead after only three minutes, scoring Peru’s first goal against Brazil at a Copa America in 40 years.
However, Neymar headed home unmarked two minutes later before substitute Douglas Costa scored in the closing seconds of the match to give a struggling Brazil their first three points of the competition.
The Selecao looked to bounce back from their humiliating exit from last summer’s World Cup, and early game jitters were noticeable. David Luiz, who was subject of criticism after that 7-1 defeat, gifted Peru the lead when he failed to coordinate correctly with his keeper, and Christian Cuevas struck home to put Peru ahead.
But less than two minutes later, Neymar capitalized with a header from close range to put things at 1-1.
Neymar was exceptional and moments later came inches shy of scoring a second after he forced Carlos Zambrano to a goal-line save.
In the second half, Brazil lacked the cutting edge of traditional Brazilian sides. Again, it was Neymar who looked like the most threatening player in a yellow jersey.
In injury time, Neymar brilliantly cut in from the left and found Diego Costa free for a one-on-one against the keeper. The Shakhtar player slotted home calmly as the Brazilians ran away with the win.
Meanwhile, in the earlier game of Group C, Venezuela shocked Colombia with a 1-0 victory in Rancagua.
Jose Pekerman’s side came into the tournament after an impressive quarter-final appearance in the last World Cup, but it was Venezuela who controlled the actions of the game.
In the 60th minute, Salomon Rondon headed past David Ospina to put Venezuela into the lead.
The goal brought Colombia to life, but Rondon’s goal was enough for Venezuela to start a Copa America with a win for the first time in their history.
Venezuela’s next game will be on Tuesday against Peru, while Colombia will play Brazil a day later.