Brazil played some beautiful samba football in the first half to take the lead and beat Peru 1-0 in the first semi-final in Rio.
Brazil overcame Peru in the semi-final of Copa America 2021 courtesy of Lucas Paqueta’s first half strike. This was a rematch of the 2019 Copa America final. The Brazilian team clearly dominated the first half although it wasn’t reflected on the score sheet. The hosts have now extended their unbeaten run to 15 games. They will now take on the winners of the second semi-final between Argentina and Colombia. Brazil played some beautiful football in the first quarter of the game. Delicate backheels, one touch football and some exquisite individual skills reigned galore.
Inside the eighth minute of the game, Everton released Richarlison. The forward went wide to beat the Peru goalkeeper, but his cut back was blazed over and wide by Neymar. Few minutes later, goalkeeper Pedro Gallese spilled out a powerful free-kick from Casemiro.
However, he was quick to react and gather the loose ball before Everton could turn in the rebound.
Paqueta delivered a cut back from the right side of the penalty area after he was released by Casemiro’s sublime backheel. But Gallese made two brilliant saves in quick succession to deny Neymar and Richarlison from close range.
Brazil’s relentless pressure finally paid off 10 minutes before the break. Neyamar delivered a cut back from the left side of the penalty area despite being surrounded by three Peruvian players. Paqueta calmly volleyed the ball past Gallese to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Selecao.
At the other end, Brazil goalkeeper Ederson was a mere spectator in the first half. And it took Peru 49 minutes to register its first shot on Goal. A long ball from the back picked up Gianluca Lapadula’s run and the striker’s left footed shot after cutting inside from the right side was blocked by the Manchester City custodian.
The introduction of Marcos Lopez and Raziel Garcia after the restart shook Peru awake. On the hour mark, Garcia tested Ederson with a long-ranger. And nine minutes from time Yoshimar Yotun fired in a free-kick into the box, although Alexander Callens beat Ederson to the ball, his header missed the goal from six yards out.
Brazil’s defence held firm to deny Peru the equalizer and they will now be aiming to win their second consecutive title on Saturday.