Coutinho leads Brazil to victory

Phillipe Coutinho’s second-half brace guided Brazil to a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in the Copa America opener in Rio.
 
Fernandinho and Roberto Firmino returned for Brazil while Erwin Saavedra, Fernando Saucedo and Alejandro Chumacero started for Bolivia.
 
As expected, the hosts provided the early scare with a header from Firmino on five minutes but Carlos Lampe saved comfortably, while Thiago Silva went close with a header of his own six minutes later.
 
The Bolivians defended deep for most of the first half, which in turn saw the hosts struggle to carve out chances, with Casemiro firing the wide in the final minute of the stanza.
 
After a quiet half, a penalty went Brazil’s way five minutes from the break with Adrian Jusino penalised for a handball by VAR. Coutinho did the honours with a cool finish, giving Lampe no chance whatsoever.
 
The Selecao’s advantage doubled 53 minutes in when Coutinho leaped highest to head home a well-articulated cross from Firmino, who was eventually replaced by Grabiel Jesus 10 minutes later,
 
The latter nearly made an instant impact a minute from entering, but the final effort deflected past the post.
 
Given the lack of opportunities, Tite pulled opted for another change with nine minutes remaining as David Neres was pulled off for Everton Soares.
 
The substitution paid off moments later as the Gremio man expertly curled into the far corner to seal the three points for Tite's charges.
 
After everything, the eight-time South American champions concluded on a high with Venezuela next on the list.

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