Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Neymar scores from spot as Brazil break down stubborn Japan

Neymar scores from spot as Brazil break down stubborn Japan
Brazil’s forward Neymar (left) celebrates scoring a goal in a penalty kick during the friendly match against Japan at National Stadium in Tokyo on Monday. – AFP PHOTO

Neymar scored a 77th-minute penalty as Brazil broke down a stubborn Japan 1-0 in Tokyo on Monday to keep their momentum building ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

The South American heavyweights arrived in Tokyo fresh off a 5-1 thrashing of South Korea in Seoul last week, but Japan proved a tougher nut to crack in front of a full house at the Olympic stadium.

The home side kept Brazil in check until Wataru Endo tripped substitute Richarlison in the box, and Neymar stepped up to send goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda the wrong way from the spot.

Neymar's goal took him to 74 for his country, just three short of the legendary Pele's all-time record of goals for Brazil.

Lucas Paqueta gave Japan a taste of what they were up against when he hit the post as early as the second minute, following a cheeky back-heel flick from Neymar.

The home side steadied the ship and began to create chances of their own, with platinum blond winger Junya Ito causing problems down Brazil's left flank.

Japan's goalkeeper kept out Raphinha before pulling off another good save from a booming Neymar shot, as Brazil turned the screw midway through the first half.