Sunday, March 27, 2011

Neymar scored a goal in each half Sunday to halt Brazil's losing streak with a 2-0 exhibition win over Scotland in London.

The Santos striker rounded off a flowing move three minutes before halftime and struck his second from the spot in the 77th minute after winning a penalty in a tangle of legs with Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam.

Brazil lost its last two friendlies 1-0 but its under-strength lineup was mostly untroubled by Scotland at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and could have won by more.

Neymar hit the bar at the start of the second half and goalkeeper Allan McGregor made a double save moments later. Substitute Jonas also blazed a shot over the bar when unmarked in injury time.

Brazil has now outscored Scotland 16-3 and remains undefeated in 10 meetings. Robinho, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Alexandre Pato were all left out of the team due to injury or poor form.

Although the Scots could not eke out any clear chances against a defense built on Lucio, Thiago Silva and Daniel Alves, the physicality of Scott Brown and guile of Adam unsettled Brazil's midfield for periods of the second half.

Jadson, playing in a withdrawn role on the right of Brazil's attack, hit a 20th-minute shot with the outside of his right shoe but the effort was saved low by McGregor. Neymar slipped as he chased the rebound and the chance passed.

Leandro Damiao headed over minutes later from a corner and Lucas Leiva's cross from the right byline was only kept out by an inadvertent handball on the line by defender Gary Caldwell. The offense was not spotted and the ball looped back and out for a goal kick.

Scotland looked set to hold out until halftime but a penetrating move upfield led to Neymar collecting a left-wing cross just inside the area.

He seemed to have lost control with his first touch, going one way while the ball went the other, but recovered immediately to curl a right-foot shot around a defender and past the diving McGregor.

Neymar won his late penalty when his legs were caught by a challenge from behind by Adam and Scotland could have conceded another right at the end, but referee Howard Webb - whose English nationality had drawn jeers from Scotland fans all afternoon - ruled that Stephen Crainey's hand ball of a goal-bound shot was accidental.


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