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  Sports   Football  23 Jun 2018  FIFA World Cup 2018: Sleeping giants Brazil wake up late to rock Costa Rica

FIFA World Cup 2018: Sleeping giants Brazil wake up late to rock Costa Rica

AFP
Published : Jun 23, 2018, 12:12 am IST
Updated : Jun 23, 2018, 12:16 am IST

Costa Rica conceded again right at the death. Substitute Douglas Costa squared for Neymar to finally find the net.

Brazil’s Neymar celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo: AP)
 Brazil’s Neymar celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo: AP)

Saint Petersburg: Philippe Coutinho and Neymar broke down dogged Costa Rica in injury time on Friday, sealing a 2-0 win for Brazil that propels the five-time champions towards the Last 16.

Costa Rica looked likely to hold on for a hard-earned draw, particularly after Neymar had a penalty award chalked off by referee Bjorn Kuipers after he consulted the Video Assistant Referee. But Coutinho and Neymar finally broke through, scoring in the 91st and 97th minutes to put Tite’s side on the brink of the knockout stages.

At the final whistle, Neymar sat down on the grass and wept, with the emotion of victory hitting home after the tense Group ‘E’ contest at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Brazil enjoyed a gradual crescendo in the first half but their dominance in possession was not reflected in chances created.

Neymar faced the most devoted of markers in Costa Rica’s Cristian Gamboa, the Brazilian spending most of the half hopping over scything tackles or dodging past a barging shoulder.

It was a compelling battle. One sumputous Neymar flick sent the ball flying over Gamboa’s head and later he made an excellent run onto Coutinho’s pass, only to squander the chance with a heavy touch.

Frustration brewed but Costa Rica’s resistance ended in the 91st minute. Marcelo’s deep cross was kept alive by Roberto Firmino and a loose touch by Jesus dribbled into Coutinho’s path. He sidefooted home from six yards.

Costa Rica conceded again right at the death. Substitute Douglas Costa squared for Neymar to finally find the net.   

Tags: fifa world cup 2018, neymar, costa rica