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PJ Van Rooyen
06 Mar 2014 10:03
Brazil's Neymar (left) and Bafana Bafana's Thabo Nthethe during the international friendly match between South Africa and Brazil at FNB Stadium. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo)
Barcelona star Neymar scored a superb hat-trick to help Brazil record a comfortable 5-0 win over Bafana Bafana in a friendly international at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old wonderkid netted either side of half-time with two outstanding touches after Oscar put Brazil ahead 11 minutes into the game.
Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho added a fourth from a distance, sinking into the top corner to all but put the result to bed 10 minutes from time.
But Neymar would have the last say, adding the finishing touches in the final minute of regular time as Bafana suffered their worst ever defeat in front of a massive home crowd at Soccer City.
The former Santos youngster was at the heart of Selecao's attacking threat going forward and secured the visitors' seventh successive win under head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has not been beaten since August 2013.
Having brought a full-strength side to South Africa, for what was to be Brazil's final fixture before their 23-man 2014 World Cup squad will be announced, Scolari named a formidable starting lineup, with the likes of Julio Cesar, Thiago Silva, Fernandinho and David Luiz all handed a starting role.
Ronwen Williams, meanwhile, who earned his first international cap, was called into action early on, but looked comfortable as Brazil stamped their authority all over their struggling hosts.
Williams's steady start, however, did not last long as the visitors searched forward, allowing Chelsea midfielder Oscar to chip home the opener over an advancing Williams, who was left stranded by his defence.
Brazil kept up the pressure and held on to the ball as Bafana looked to find a way back into the game, Williams making a last-ditch stop to deny Neymar the Samba Boys' second midway through the half.
But the crafty winger would not be kept out a second time, after receiving a ball into the South African half, skipping past one defender and slotting home through the legs of the goalkeeper as Brazil extended their advantage.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, Brazil shot out the gates in the second period and took just 20 seconds to grab their third of the night, Neymar again with a simple chip over Williams's head, having broken the Bafana defensive line far too easily.
The rest of the half went much the way of the South Americans, though South Africa managed a few meaningful attacks of their own, Ayanda Patosi the pick of the bunch, as he forced a good stop from Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Soak up the pressure
Brazil soaked up the pressure applied later on by the home side and soon went back the other way, leaving Fernandinho unmarked and outside the South African area.
He unleashed a thunderous effort from a standing start and beat Williams into the top corner, leaving the young shot-stopper rooted to the spot.
Having been in scintillating form throughout, Neymar sealed his hat-trick, notching up his 30th international goal from a simple headed effort dead in front of goal, rounding-off a dominant display in Johannesburg. – Sapa
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