Brazil leave it late against Costa Rica
Posted: 22 June 2018 Time: 16:00
Brazil left it late to secure three vital points in a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in their FIFA World Cup Group E encounter at the St Petersberg Stadium on Friday.
After a goalless opening half with only one shot on target from Costa Rica, the Central American side would have been slightly aggrieved after boasting the best chance to open the scoring.
Brazil were thwarted in the final third by Oscar Ramirez's men for large spells but Celso Borges' missed a glorious chance in the 10th minute when he placed his effort past the post after being teed up in the area by Christian Gamboa.
At the other end, Gabriel Jesus had a goal chalked off for an obvious offside, while Neymar appeared to be lacking match fitness and was visibly frustrated by stout defending.
However, in the second-half, the game sprung to life without the Selecao being at their fluent best.
Keylor Navas was in inspiring form, displaying why he's rated one of the world's best, thwarting Jesus, Coutinho and Neymar on several occasions.
But one of the biggest talking points will no doubt be the VAR decision when Neymar had a penalty call overturned by the review system in the 77th minute as he was rightfully adjudged to have dived for the call.
The final stretch of the game proved to be a frantic affair, with Tite's side chasing the game, but the five-time World Cup champions managed to find a crucial late goal when Phillipe Coutinho stabbed the ball home in the 91st minute of the game.
Substitute and Coutinho's former Liverpool team-mate Roberto Firmino's deft knock-down set up the FC Barcelona playmaker to send Brazilian fans into ecstasy after a frustrating afternoon.
In the 96th minute, the world's most expensive player, Neymar, netted his first goal of the 2018 World Cup and his side's second to secure a priceless result and ease pressure going into their final game.
The three points moves the South American giants temporarily into first place ahead of Serbia, who feature against Switzerland later today - while Los Ticos are eliminated from the competition before matchday three.
Brazil: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Paulinho, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.
Substitutes: Geromel, Filipe Luis, Douglas Costa, Renato Augusto, Marquinhos, Cassio, Fernandinho, Fred, Roberto Firmino, Taison, Ederson.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas; Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Johnny Acosta; Cristian Gamboa, Celso Borges, David Guzman, Bryan Ruiz; Bryan Ruiz, Marco Urena, Johan Venegas.
Substitutes: Ian Smith, Christian Bolanos, Daniel Colindres, Joel Campbell, Rodney Wallace, Randall Azofeifa, Francisco Calvo, Yeltsin Tejeda, Patrick Pemberton, Kendall Waston, Kenner Gutierrez, Leonel Moreira.