On Friday, Copa America’s defending champions Brazil advanced to the semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Chile despite playing with ten men. Only seconds before Gabriel Jesus was sent off early in the second half, substitute Lucas Paquetá scored the only goal of the game.
Paquetá’s winner in the 46th minute into the left corner of Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, gave Brazil fans hope that the Selecao would ease into the next round. After hitting Chile’s Eugenio Mena with a flying kick, Jesus was sent off just two minutes later.
After the game, Neymar and Brazil coach Tite said Jesus didn’t see Mena and accidentally kicked him in the midfield as he tried to reclaim possession. Brazil defended so well that Chile had less shots on goal after Jesus was sent off than when he was on the field; two against three.
Thiago Silva of Brazil commented, “Defending well is a characteristic of ours.” “Regardless of what we accomplished today, we only let up a couple of goals. We produced clear opportunities all the way down to ten. I am quite pleased of this team for its tenacity.”
Paquetá entered the game after a tense first half in which neither team had many chances. Roberto Firmino was replaced by him. With Neymar’s dribbles and swift counter-attacks, Brazil continued to challenge Chile. But Chile was considerably closer to equalising; an Eduardo Vargas goal was disallowed for offside, and in the 68th minute, English-Chilean Ben Brereton hit the crossbar with a header.
After the game, Neymar stated that playing with ten men was a fantastic test for Brazil. He didn’t come close to scoring as he had in other Copa America games, but he was crucial in keeping possession.
“We need to get some tests in every match to make us stronger, to prove we can do it in any situation,” Neymar remarked. “We had no choice except to stick together. It was quite difficult.”
Arturo Vidal of Chile stated that his team will exit the competition with pride. “We were defeated by a strong club, a favourite playing at home,” he remarked. “With some more time to develop, this team will regain its intensity if we play as we did today. We’re hoping to make the World Cup. It will be difficult, but we can do it.”
Peru advanced to the semifinals of Copa America after defeating Paraguay 4-3 on penalties following a 3-3 stalemate in regulation time. The 2019 Copa America final featured Brazil and Peru, with the hosts prevailing 3-1. In the encounter at Rio’s Maracana Stadium, Jesus was also sent off. The game on Monday will take place at the same Nilton Santos Stadium.