Thursday 14 December 2017

Neymar magic lights up Maracana as Brazil stun Spain


Neymar of Brazil scores his team's second goal
Neymar of Brazil scores his team's second goal

Confederations Cup final

Neymar inspired his team to Confederations Cup glory in the Maracana Stadium last night as Brazil gave themselves a huge boost for next summer's World Cup.

Two goals from Fred and one from Neymar proved decisive while a missed penalty from Sergio Ramos and a red card for Gerard Pique rounded off a miserable night for the World Cup holders and European champions.

Brazil got off to the perfect start when Fred finished from close-range following a goal-mouth scramble when he poked the ball past Iker Casillas.

The hosts were rampant in the early stages with Barcelona-bound Neymar causing problems for Alvaro Arbeloa in particular who was lucky to escape a red card for a cynical foul on the half-way line.

The Spaniards responded, however, and were only denied an equaliser by a stunning goal-line clearance from David Luiz who stretched to put Pedro's goal-bound shot over the bar.

Minutes later, and just before half-time, Neymar produced the game's magic moment when he received a neat pass from Oscar and drilled a superb shot past Casillas and into the top corner to send the Maracana into raptures.

Spain needed a fast start to the second half but it was Fred who effectively sealed the victory two minutes after the break with a neat finish from the edge of the box.

Ramos had the chance to give Spain hope but he put his 55th minute penalty wide. Julio Cesar then made some fine saves but any hope Spain had was ended when Pique was dismissed for a professional foul on the irrepressible Neymar with 20 minutes remaining.

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