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Jun 28, 2024 11:25 pm

Brazil thrash Paraguay, get back on track in Copa America

Copa America, Brazil, Paraguay

Vinicius Junior scored a first-half brace and Brazil woke from its slumber with a 4-1 victory over Paraguay on Friday night in Las Vegas to put their Copa America campaign back on track.

Lucas Paqueta converted a second-half penalty kick after missing from the spot in the first half as the nine-time tournament champions moved alone into second place in Group D.

Savio also scored before halftime for Brazil (1-0-1, 4 points), who would top the group if it defeats Colombia (2-0-0, 6 points) on Tuesday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The win was Brazil’s first in six competitive fixtures and first in a competitive fixture managed by Dorival Junior, who was hired in January. It followed a stunning 0-0 draw against Copa Rica to open their tournament on Monday.

Omar Alderete scored for Paraguay (0-2-0, 0 points), which was eliminated in the group phase for only the second time since 2001. Both of those came in expanded, 16-team events played in the United States.

Andres Cubas was sent off late in the defeat for violent conduct after winning a free kick in Brazil’s half.

Paraguay will finish their tournament on Tuesday in Austin, Texas, against Costa Rica (0-1-1, 1 point), which still has a mathematical — if remote — chance of reaching the quarterfinals.

Brazil’s Alisson made five saves, including two crucial interventions in the opening half hour before his team got on the board.

Paqueta flubbed Brazil’s first clear chance to take the lead in the 31st minute when he sent his penalty wide of the target after his previous shot from outside the box struck Cubas’ arm.

Vinicius Junior put his team in front four minutes later on a wonderful, left-to-right attacking move that he started from near the left corner of the penalty area.

Bruno Guimaraes and Rodrygo both had touches before Paqueta provided the return ball onto the feet of Vinicius Junior, who rounded goalkeeper Rodrigo Morinigo before finishing into an open goal.

Savio was in the right place to put home a rebound in the 43rd minute. In the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time, Vinicius Junior was rewarded for his pressure with his second goal when he intercepted a pass from Alderete deep in his own box and finished into an open net.

Alderete ruined Brazil’s shutout bid in the 48th minute before Paqueta’s successful penalty kick in the 65th minute capped the scoring.

–Field Level Media

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