Neymar sends Brazil into Confederations Cup semis

Fortaleza (Brazil), June 20 (IANS) Neymar scored a goal and set up another as Brazil overcame Mexico 2-0 and secured their place in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Neymar struck in the ninth minute at the Arena Castelao Wednesday night with a left-footed volley after Hulk’s cross was headed clear by Francisco Rodriguez, reports Xinhua.

Former Manchester City striker Jo doubled the lead in second-half stoppage time after Neymar dribbled past two defenders and delivered a precise cross from the left edge of the penalty area.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted his team still had room for improvement despite the seemingly comprehensive scoreline.

“The result was positive but in certain moments we had difficulties,” Scolari said. “We have to work hard to correct those problems. But it is the spirit of this team that is most important. It is getting stronger with every match.”

For Brazil, the victory also went some way to atoning for last year’s Olympic final in London, when Mexico defeated the South Americans 2-1 at Wembley stadium.

Brazil took control of the match from the outset, dictating possession and posing a constant threat to Jose Corona’s goal.

Minutes after Neymar’s opener, the hosts almost made it 2-0 when Alves spotted Corona off his line only for his clever chip to narrowly sail over the keeper’s head.

Hulk and Neymar also missed chances to score Brazil’s second by firing just wide of the target before half time.

Mexico’s best chance came late in the second half when Andres Guardado’s shot was kept out by a lunging David Luiz clearance.

Scolari admitted he now faces a selection dilemma after Jo scored his second goal in as many matches as a second-half substitute.

“It’s great that we have players pushing to be included in the starting lineup,” Scolari said. “We have a very strong squad and it means I have to have a good think about who is going to play.

Brazil’s final group match is against Italy at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador Saturday while Mexico face Japan at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium the same day.

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