Sport Soccer

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Neymar lives up to hype as Samba stars lead Scots a merry dance

Brazil 2 Scotland 0

Roddy Forsyth

Two goals from Neymar, another two efforts that skimmed the top of Allan McGregor's crossbar and a couple of gift chances casually squandered made up the Brazilian side of the ledger in this lopsided but surprisingly entertaining friendly at the Emirates.

After consecutive defeats by Argentina and France in their roaming programme of friendlies, Brazil recorded a necessary win to ease the sporadic criticism of Mano Menezes' attempt to remould his side after the disappointment of last summer's World Cup finals under his predecessor, Dunga.

In sharp contrast, the Tartan Army's biggest cheer came midway through the second half when James Morrison forced Scotland's first corner-kick, a cue which Charlie Adam promptly muddled with one of the worst deliveries ever to be attached to his name.

The Scots were also reminded that, after successive victories over the Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland, a far more exalted level of competition will sooner or later insist on imposing its demands.


The principal focus of attention was Neymar, reportedly a target for both Chelsea and Real Madrid. Neither club could have been enchanted by his sulky demeanour when he discovered that neither Scott Brown or Alan Hutton was disposed to accommodate his dancing trickery and offered the Santos teenager lessons in the school of hard knocks.

Still, Neymar -- whose answer to the mullet haircut might best be described as the stunned ferret -- had the last laugh of the half when he completed a sweeping move four minutes from the break that was inaugurated by Ramires and shuttled on by Santos with a cutback into the Scottish box -- Neymar curling his finish around both Gary Caldwell and McGregor.

Brazil were not in the mood to allow Scotland to play their way into the second half and within seconds of the restart Neymar had cracked a drive off the top of the crossbar from 20 yards. A second goal looked inevitable, but it took Brazil until 23 minutes from time to secure it with a Neymar penalty kick after the forward had left a trailing leg, which Adam obligingly hooked.

"The easy part for me is that we have players who didn't perform at their best today but who know it and who have been hard on themselves," said Scotland manager Craig Levein. "I said to the players that Brazil are a great side. It will be impossible for us to have a tougher match than that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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